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Howard Lake fire chief dies unexpectedly

A family member of Chief Drusch confirms that he died after suffering what appears to be a massive heart attack at his home Sunday evening.
Credit: Howard Lake FD Facebook Page
The Howard Lake Fire Department and the entire community are mourning the unexpected death of Fire Chief Daryl Drusch.

HOWARD LAKE, Minn. — Family, friends and residents of Howard Lake are mourning the unexpected passing of Fire Chief Daryl 'Taddy' Drusch. 

A family member of Chief Drusch confirms that he died after suffering what appears to be a massive heart attack at his home early Monday. Drusch reportedly had a weekend full of emergency response calls before the heart attack, but it unclear if that played a role in his passing. Still, the fact he was on an emergency call 12 hours before his passing makes Drusch's death officially in the line of duty. 

Drusch leaves behind his wife Julie, and a 15-year-old son Taylor. He was a 30-year veteran of Howard Lake Fire and Rescue, having served as chief since 2014. 

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the unexpected passing of Fire Chief Daryl "Taddy" Drusch," reads a post on the Howard Lake Fire Department Facebook page. "We ask that you respect the privacy of his family as well as the department at this time."

Fire departments between Minneapolis and Howard Lake will be partici... pating in a procession as we return Taddy to Howard Lake this afternoon. The procession will be leaving Minneapolis at 2 p.m. with a projected arrival in Howard Lake at 3 p.m. Please come out and show support for Taddy's family and department this afternoon!

The death of their chief is especially difficult for the Howard Lake department, as four members are relatives of Drusch. 

The chief's cousin Joe Drusch, who owns Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake, says Daryl Drusch was "very outgoing, a guy who would bend over backwards to help anybody." Drusch also said his cousin was a dedicated firefighter, and a good man. 

On Tuesday afternoon, fire departments between Minneapolis and Howard Lake will take part in a procession as Chief Drusch's body is transported home. The line of vehicles will leave Minneapolis around 2 p.m. and is expected to arrive at the Swanson Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato around 3 p.m. The Howard Lake Fire Department is encouraging people to come out to see the motorcade and show support for Daryl and his family. 

Taking part in the procession are firefighters and fire rigs from Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Saint Louis Park, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Long Lake, Maple Plain, Delano, South Haven, Clearwater, Montrose, Waverly, Buffalo, Hanover, Monticello, St. Michael, Albertville, Annandale, Cokato, Rockford and Maple Lake.

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