St. Paul firefighter's death is declared in line of duty
As recently reported in the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week, a St. Paul Firefighters death was declared "in the line of duty". As you will see from the story below, it took over a decade for officer Hain's injury to be delcared in the line of duty by the City of St. Paul. Now his wife and children are eligible for dependency wage loss benefits under Minnesota's workers compensation act for AT LEAST the next 10 years. Congratulations to his family and let's all say a prayer for Officer Hain's who gave his life protecting ours!
Below is the full story as reported by Mara Gottfried in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
As a St. Paul firefighter, Ramon "Ray" Hain came in contact with a patient's body fluids in 1997. Doctors think he contracted a rare disease that weakened his heart.
Hain, of Roseville, got a heart transplant in 1998 but had to retire in 2000 from the job he loved. In recent months, the 50-year-old Hain's heart began failing. He died last Saturday.
Despite the years that have passed, the St. Paul Fire Department considers his death to be in the line of duty — its first such death in 20 years — and his name will be inscribed at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.
Hain didn't know he would be honored, said his wife, Gail Hain. "I think that would really touch him," she said.
Firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States, killing more than 100 each year, said St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler.
Hain, who was also an emergency medical technician, described in a 1998 Pioneer Press column what had happened about four months before he became sick in September 1997.
"I responded to a cardiac arrest call during which I knelt down over the person and came in contact with body fluids on the floor," he said. "I'd had a sore on my knee at the time, and a few days later I developed some kind of massive infection in the thigh of that same leg."
Hain was born April 21, 1959, in Oak Park, Ill., and moved to Roseville with his family while in the sixth grade, his wife said. At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Hain played basketball at Augsburg College and completed his degree in business and philosophy at Metropolitan State University.
An "adrenaline junkie" who dreamed of being a firefighter, he joined the fire department in 1994, Gail Hain said.
"He was highly regarded as a first-rate firefighter — dependable, hard-working and dedicated ... a well-rounded, knowledgeable firefighter as well as a courteous, caring human being," Assistant Fire Chief Jim Smith said.
In 1997, two weeks after the Hains' youngest daughter was born, Hain started not feeling good. He went to the doctor and learned his heart was enlarged, Gail Hain said. He was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle from unknown causes.
He was put on the transplant list right away and received a new heart Nov. 30, 1998.
Hain wanted to go back to firefighting, but doctors said the risk to his new heart was too great.
"It was very unsettling to see such a warm-hearted, passionate individual have to leave the department at such a young age," Smith said.
Hain was told he had a 10-year life expectancy and, with two young daughters, "we made the decision he would be the one to stay home," his wife said.
He volunteered at his daughters' school and was involved in their activities, Gail Hain said. He would joke about being a stay-at-home father, but he enjoyed it, she said.
He loved woodworking and set up a wood shop in the garage. Every Christmas, he made wooden ornaments or decorations. He also made wood inlay designs known as intarsia.
The last St. Paul firefighter to die in the line of duty was fire investigator Gary Skoglund, who was killed in a 1989 fire, the department said.
The Local 21 honor guard will serve at Ray Hain's memorial service today. Visitation is from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 1660 W. County Road B, Roseville. The memorial service will follow at the same location.
Besides his wife, Hain is survived by daughters Rachel, 14, and Sara, 12; father Edward Hain, of Olathe, Kan.; sisters Sherry Duval, of Cottage Grove, and Karen Sitzmann, of Lenexa, Kan.; and brother Steve Hain, of Olathe, Kan.