Skip to main content

Beloved Minnesota fire captain honored after dying of COVID-19

He's believed to be the first Minnesota firefighter to have died of COVID.

Flags were at half-staff on Saturday across Minnesota as a community remembered Upsala fire Capt. Brian Lange. 

Lange, 55, died on Dec. 11 of an illness he got while working as a firefighter, Gov. Tim Walz said in a news release. The release did not specify what the illness was.

WCCO and WJON are reporting Lange died of complications due to COVID-19, marking the first firefighter to die with the virus since the start of the pandemic. And a Facebook post from the Upsala Fire Department on Dec. 11 says he died after two weeks filled with "prayers and suffering."

Lange was with the volunteer fire department for 22 years, including the last six years as captain, and he also served 10 years on the Upsala City Council. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, two daughters, and a granddaughter. 

“Captain Lange was a dedicated firefighter who was respected by his family, friends, and colleagues,” Walz's proclamation said. “The State of Minnesota recognizes Captain Lange for his dedicated service to, and sacrifice for, his fellow Minnesotans, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and entire community.”

Lange grew up in Upsala, graduating valedictorian of his class in 1985, his obituary says. He went on to attend St. Cloud State University, where he majored in computer programming all while working at Stearns Bank Upsala, where he became bank manager. He started working for Woodcraft Industricts making cabinet doors in 2001. 

Lange's funeral was held on Saturday in Upsala and included a "sea of uniforms" from firefighters across the state and a procession to the cemetery. 

Next Up

raiaing canes brooklyn park crop

After 3-month delay, newest Twin Cities Raising Cane's opens

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in October.

st anthony armed robbery screengrab

Armed man robs Twin Cities thrift store, flees in carjacked pickup

He pulled out a handgun shortly after chatting with the cashier about his scarf.

red wing 6

Gallery: Pagoda-inspired home on Lake Pepin for sale for $2M

The home has 425 feet of private shoreline on the Mississippi River.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Plow 2 (1)

Photos reveal damage from gunshots to Minneapolis snowplow

A hydraulic line and three tires were damaged in the shooting.

unsplash - school classroom students

Minneapolis schools confirm return to in-person teaching Monday

The school district shifted to online learning almost two weeks ago as rising COVID cases led to staff and bus driver shortages.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Mineral leases for proposed Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters canceled

A review by the DOI found "significant legal deficiencies" with the leases' 2019 renewal.


Reward to find person who left kittens to die in freezing WI cold

The cats were thrown from a vehicle, according to a witness.

metro mobility bus

Charges: Man led police on multi-city pursuit in stolen Metro Mobility bus

The bus had been left unattended with the keys inside when it was stolen.

Bell Ramsey Co. Jan 22 - crop

Charges: Man fatally shot mother of his child during argument

Officers found her on the ground outside the couple's home.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 26

More than 15,000 new cases in today's update.


prison, Rush City cell block

2 more Minnesota prison inmates die after getting COVID-19

Since the pandemic began, eight COVID-positive inmates in Minnesota prisons have died.

Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 5.38.51 PM

Beloved fire chief in western Wisconsin dies from COVID-19

The chief of the small town's fire department battled COVID-19 for over a month.

coronavirus, covid-19, drive-thru testing

COVID-19: The CDC's new guidance on how long to quarantine and isolate

The Minnesota Department of Health says it will update its COVID guidance.


Child under 10 years old dies from COVID-19 in Minnesota

An updated view of the COViD-19 pandemic in Minnesota.

Walz covid vaccine delivery

COVID-19 vaccines start arriving in Minnesota

The first doses of the vaccine could be administered to Minnesotans later this week.

david kolleh

St. Louis Park nursing home fined after employee died of COVID-19

An investigation found the nursing home violated COVID-19 safety rules.

castaway club camp

Cluster of COVID-19 cases tied to camp in western Minnesota

Ten cases have been reported among staff, report states.