Chris Brown a professional Bloomington firefighter and a volunteer Hudson firefighter was killed while helping stranded drivers during an evening snow storm.
The Hudson team received a call at 9:45pm, regarding a multiple vehicle incident on Interstate 39.
Brown and others from the department were dispatched there.
While on scene, a semi tractor trailer carrying a load of automobiles lost control and struck the department's emergency vehicles injuring every fireman there.
It happened southbound on I-39 near mile marker six about an hour after the Hudson crew arrived.
All were taken to a local hospital in Normal.
Brown died a short time later.
Honoring a Legacy:
Chris Brown is leaving behind big boots to fill.
When he began his career more than a decade ago, the Bloomington Fire Department knew they had a true hero on their side.
"He was great. I wouldn't trade Chris for anything," said Captain Eric West.
West is still in shock after learning his long time co-worker passed away in the line of duty.
"It just hit me in the stomach so hard. I was his captain. And I look at that as, he's a son of mine."
"When it happens to one of your own, it's something you can never prepare for," added Bloomington Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling.
Friends and firefighters say 39 year old Brown had a passion for helping others.
So much so, that he joined the Hudson Volunteer fire department three years ago.
"Excellent firefighter, very professional, excellent medic, and just a good all around person," described Hudson Fire Chief Dan Hite.
Hite was on the snowy highway with Brown helping stranded drivers, when a semi truck lost control.
"It was eye opening," said Chief Hite. "Cars, they want to stop and they want to look or they want to slow down. The problem is they don't understand that semi that's 40,000 pounds behind you going the same speed you are, can't stop."
With heavy hearts as they try to move forward, the department says Brown's memory will continue to live on as they remember his strong work ethic, love for family, and positive attitude that no matter the challenge, always shined through.
"You never saw Chris when he didn't have a smile on his face," said Hite. "He's a wonderful guy."
Brown leaves behind a wife and two young children.
Meantime, the other injured firefighters have been released from the hospital.