Clinton city official: ‘We’ve lost a hero’ following fire and explosion

CLINTON — A Clinton firefighter was killed and a second firefighter was gravely injured while battling a large blaze on Saturday at the ADM grain processing plant in that eastern Iowa town.

Clinton Fire Chief Mike Brown says the crew was about a hundred feet off the ground fighting the flames when the grain silo exploded.

Chief Brown says: “Eric Hosette, 33 years old, a lieutenant, he’s been on our department 12 years, a fine man with a wife and young daughter, was taken to Mercy Medical Center where they did everything possible to try to revive him — and he did not make it.”

After the blast, there was a lot of debris, fire and chaos.

“We had a missing firefighter, Adam Cain, who was found after the explosion and heroically gotten out and rescued,” Brown says. “He was flown to Iowa City.”

Cain’s condition at University Hospitals was originally listed as “very critical,” according to Brown, but the latest report says he’s now stable, awake, alert and breathing on his own.

Firefighter Adam Cain

Clinton City Administrator Matt Brooke says hundreds of people, including dozens of firefighters and law officers, lined roads and overpasses as the hearse carrying Hosette’s body made its way from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office.

“We received hundreds of calls today, more support than I’ve ever seen in a community come together and really across the region,” Brooke says. “We’ve seen folks meet Eric and his family as he was moving to Ankeny to help escort. We’ve seen Iowa City open their arms. None of our firefighters are currently on shift. We have folks from Camanche, from Fulton and from Davenport all jumping in.”

During a news conference Saturday night, Brooke said the amount of support has been heart-warming.

“We just want to make sure that we thank all the city workers, all the citizens, all the folks in the region, all the firefighters that I mentioned who have come today to help out,” Brooke says, “as we’ve lost a hero.”

The cause of the fire and explosion are under investigation.

Brooke says the last time a Clinton first responder was killed in the line of duty was a police officer who died in the 1990s.