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Snowmobiler killed in crash during blizzard was firefighter, father-of-2

The snowmobile flipped and pinned the 37 year old.
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A volunteer firefighter and father-of-two was killed in a snowmobile crash during the weekend blizzard.

Chad Van Zuilen, 37, died after his snowmobile flipped and landed on top of him in Webster Township on Sunday. 

Such were the conditions that he was completely covered with snow by the time rescuers found him, with the Rice County Sheriff's Office telling WCCO the only part visible was the ski of his snowmobile.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed on Monday that Van Zuilen, who lived in Dundas, died from asphyxia.

According to his obituary, Van Zuilen had been a volunteer EMT and fireman for Northfield Fire & Rescue for almost six years.

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Employed as a utilities operator at the City of Northfield, he was also a fan of auto racing and worked on a pit crew at Elko Speedway.

"He was a talented mechanic and loved working on cars," it said. "He was fun loving, caring, meticulous, generous, and loved his family dearly. He will be greatly missed."

He is survived by his wife, Jessica Webber Van Zuilen, whom he married in Jamaica in 2006, as well as their two sons.

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