POLK CO., Mo – Volunteer firefighter Edward Lamke is home from the hospital after his truck slid off the road and rolled into a ditch.

Lamke was responding to a fire in winter conditions on December 23. The roads were covered in snow and ice.

“I couldn’t have been doing more than 15 or 18 miles per hour,” Lamke said.

Before he knew it, the truck ended up in a ditch. Lamke was able to radio for help, and multiple agencies responded.

“He was very calm when he radioed in that the truck was in the ditch, didn’t tell us it had rolled over, didn’t tell he was entrapped,” Lieutenant Tom Morris said. “Our emergency management director and a couple others went and they get down there and he’s entrapped in the truck with his arm pinned below the steering wheel. So at that point, then we start a full response. Get mutual aid departments.”

Morris said Lamke was taken to Citizen’s Memorial Hospital for testing, and was then transferred to Cox South.

“We were very emotional,” Morris said. “We’re family. I’ve known [Lamke] for about four years. I’m an only child, but he’s as close to the brother as I’ve got.”

Lamke became a volunteer firefighter with Central Polk County Fire Protection District in 2019.

“It’s one of those things that once you get here, you see how everybody reacts to everybody. Everybody takes you in like family,” Lamke said. “I just I can’t see me doing anything different now than what I do here.”

Lamke was released from the hospital on December 27 with a broken back. A day later, he went to see the damage to the truck for the first time.

“The pictures don’t really show all the damage,” Lamke said. “I’m feeling pretty lucky.”

Central Polk County Fire will need to replace the fire truck, which can cost thousands of dollars.

“We’re probably looking at buying something off the used market, which is probably gonna be close to $100,000,” Morris said. “Something new in this range is anywhere from $350,000 to $450,000. And that’s not including the equipment on that, just the truck.”

Since Lamke is a volunteer, the community is raising money to help pay for medical bills and other things while he recovers. Area fire departments are also helping make Lamke’s recovery smooth.

“One of the one of the challenges we had was Eddie had stairs going into his house and we knew that he needed a ramp before we could get him home,” Morris said. “I made two phone calls and I had ten guys from area departments out there, and in less than an hour we put a ramp on his house. So it has been amazing the support our community has given us.”

Lamke is ready to get back to doing what he loves.

“This [accident] isn’t going to deter me,” Lamke said. “When I can get up and go again, I will be back in it.”

There will be a Spaghetti Benefit Dinner/Dessert Auction for Lamke on January 21 at the Polk County Fair Grounds 4H Building. Doors open at 5 p.m. and all the money raised will go Lamke’s medical expenses.