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2 firefighters killed in rollover crash that shut down I-35W for 7 hours


Two firefighters from Michigan died and seven were injured when their truck rolled over on I-35W in the north Twin Cities on Saturday.

The crash occurred at 3:08 p.m., according to the Minnesota State Patrol, when the southbound truck left the roadway near 95th Ave. in Blaine and struck the median barriers, rolling over.

Nine people were in the truck, two of whom died. They have been identified as Alan Swartz, 25, and James Shelifoe, 23, of Baraga, Michigan.

It has emerged that the truck belonged to the Beartown Firefighters, a Michigan-based wildland firefighting team managed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Keweenaw Bay confirmed the deaths on its Facebook page Saturday evening, and added that the seven injured firefighters also in the truck are expected to make a full recovery.

"Our hearts are broken and our prayers are with the family members and those injured," it said.

The post suggests that the fire crew was traveling to assist with the effort to contain the Box Canyon wildfire in Utah.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the crash shut down the interstate for around seven hours, opening again at about 10 p.m.

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