Gov. Tim Walz orders flags at half staff to honor Upsala, Minn., firefighter who died in line of duty

18December 2021

Gov. Tim Walz ordered all federal and state flags to be flown at half-staff Saturday in honor of an Upsala, Minn., firefighter who died last weekend in the line of duty.

Capt. Brian Lange, 55, died Dec. 11 at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls of a medical illness connected with his service. The type of illness was not mentioned in a statement from Walz’s office.

Lange is the only Minnesota firefighter to have died in the line of duty this year.

He spent 22 years with Upsala’s volunteer Fire Department, including six years as captain. He also served for more than 10 years on the City Council in Upsala, a city of 500 located about 30 miles northwest of St. Cloud. He was last elected to a four-year term in 2018.

Lange grew up in Upsala, where he graduated as valedictorian of the high school class of 1985. He attended St. Cloud State University, majoring in computer programming, while working at Stearns Bank Upsala where he became manager. He began working in 2001 for Woodcraft Industries making cabinet doors.

At the direction of the governor, Minnesota flies its flags at half-staff following the death of first responders who die in the line of duty. Individuals, businesses, and other organizations are also encouraged to lower their flags.

“Captain Lange was a dedicated firefighter who was respected by his family, friends, and colleagues,” Walz’s proclamation said. “With its deepest gratitude, 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.”

According to an obituary, Lange’s survivors include Beth, his wife of 23 years; daughter Jessica; a niece, Brianna Lange of Willmar, whom he and his wife helped raise; brother Greg; and a granddaughter. Services were held Saturday.

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