Fort Wayne Fire captain dies in training

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A captain with the Fort Wayne Fire Department died while on-duty overnight.

Fire and police vehicles sit along Broadway, outside St. Joe Hospital Wednesday night after FWFD Captain Eric Balliet died during training.

Fort Wayne Fire Chief Eric Lahey told NewsChannel 15, Captain Eric Balliet suffered cardiac arrest after leading a training exercise at the old Quaker Steak building on W. Coliseum Blvd.

He was pronounced dead around 10:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Hospital.

Lahey said the incident was sudden with no sign of trouble beforehand.

Balliet was a 19-year veteran of the fire department. He also served as a reserve Allen County Sheriff’s officer and a deputy coroner for the county.

“A great loss for the Fort Wayne fire department,” Lahey said. “He was a good firefighter. A good man. We’re going to miss him.”

Balliet’s body was transported from St. Joe Hospital to D.O. McComb’s Tribute Center on West Main Street Thursday afternoon, escorted by firefighters, police officers and medics.

“As we go through the grieving process, everyone has a story to tell.\,” Lahey added. “A lot of similarities between the stories was you couldn’t go anywhere with Eric without him running into someone he knew.”

Not only was Balliet a firefighter and reserve deputy, he was a deputy coroner, arson investigator, Hoosier Burn Camp counselor and a fundraiser for the MDA, among other things.

“Just being involved in the community, inevitably he was loved by many people. His life touched a lot of other people’s lives,” Lahey explained.

Funeral arrangements are pending.