GYPSUM, Colo. β€” A firefighter who worked nearly two decades with the Gypsum Fire Protection District died Saturday after he was struck by a frontend loader while doing maintenance work for the Colorado Department of Transportation, according to a release from the Colorado State Patrol.

Eric Hill, 51, was fatally struck around 6:30 p.m. Saturday on North Frontage Road at mile marker 134.5 of Interstate 70 near Dotsero while doing a maintenance operation on the roadway in a construction zone, CSP said.

He served as a transportation maintenance employee in Region 3, section 2 Mary Area, patrol 18 in Gypsum, CDOT said.

"We are devastated by the loss of one of our own. Eric Hill was dedicated to keeping his community safe, both as part of the CDOT team and during his long career [with the] Gypsum fire protection district,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. β€œAll of CDOT joins together in supporting his family, friends and neighbors, and colleagues during this tragic time.” 

Our hearts are heavy as we announce the devastating loss of one of our own - Eric Hill, who served as a transportation maintenance worker in our northwest region. Eric was struck by a CDOT vehicle...

Hill, a native of Gypsum, graduated in 1986 from Eagle Valley High School. He served in the United States Air Force for four years.

He is survived by his wife, Cissy, two grown children, and a nine-year-old son. He also has two granddaughters. 

CSP said the investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing, and so far, no charges have been filed.

In addition to his work with CDOT, Hill had worked with the Gypsum Fire Protection District for almost 19 years both as a volunteer and a paid lieutenant, according to a post on the agency's Facebook page.

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"Eric was an amazing firefighter, a mentor to many of our members, and a beloved community member," the post said. "His loss will be deeply felt throughout Gypsum, Eagle, and all who knew him." 

Gypsum is a small town in the west end of Eagle County about 45 minutes from Vail.

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