Saint Paul Fire Department

Ramon E. Hain - St. Paul FD

U.S. Fire Administration Notification

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality:
Name: Ramon E. Hain
Rank: Firefighter
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Status: Career
Years of Service: 6
Date of Incident: 11/24/1996
Time of Incident: 2020hrs
Date of Death: 11/14/2009
Fire Department:  Saint Paul Fire Department
Address: 100 East Eleventh ST, Saint Paul, MN 55101
Fire Department Chief: Tim Butler
Incident Description: Firefighter Hain passed away as a result of heart failure reportedly caused by a rare disease he contracted through a documented exposure to hazardous substances (body fluids) while treating a patient.
Incident Location: Pending
Funeral Arrangements: 11/21/2009
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Expressions of sympathy or condolences can be sent to Local 21 at 411 Main Street, Suite 316, Saint Paul, MN 55102-1031.

St. Paul Pioneer Press


Saturday, November 21, 2009 

As a St. Paul firefighter, Ramon "Ray" Hain came in contact with a patient's body fluids in 1997. According to an article in the Pioneer Press, Doctors think he contracted a rare disease that weakened his heart. Hain, of Roseville, got a heart transplant in 1998 but had to retire in 2000 from the job he loved. In recent months, the 50-year-old Hain's heart began failing. He died last Saturday.

Despite the years that have passed, the St. Paul Fire Department considers his death to be in the line of duty — its first such death in 20 years — and his name will be inscribed at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.

Hain didn't know he would be honored, said his wife, Gail Hain. "I think that would really touch him," she said.

Firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States, killing more than 100 each year, said St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler.

Hain, who was also an emergency medical technician, described in a 1998 Pioneer Press column what had happened about four months before he became sick in September 1997.

"I responded to a cardiac arrest call during which I knelt down over the person and came in contact with body fluids on the floor," he said. "I'd had a sore on my knee at the time, and a few days later I developed some kind of massive infection in the thigh of that same leg."

Hain was born April 21, 1959, in Oak Park, Ill., and moved to Roseville with his family while in the sixth grade, his wife said. At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Hain played basketball at Augsburg College and completed his degree in business and philosophy at Metropolitan State University.

An "adrenaline junkie" who dreamed of being a firefighter, he joined the fire department in 1994, Gail Hain said.

"He was highly regarded as a first-rate firefighter — dependable, hard-working and dedicated ... a well-rounded, knowledgeable firefighter as well as a courteous, caring human being," Assistant Fire Chief Jim Smith said.

In 1997, two weeks after the Hains' youngest daughter was born, Hain started not feeling good. He went to the doctor and learned his heart was enlarged, Gail Hain said. He was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle from unknown causes.

He was put on the transplant list right away and received a new heart Nov. 30, 1998.

Hain wanted to go back to firefighting, but doctors said the risk to his new heart was too great.

"It was very unsettling to see such a warm-hearted, passionate individual have to leave the department at such a young age," Smith said.

Hain was told he had a 10-year life expectancy and, with two young daughters, "we made the decision he would be the one to stay home," his wife said.

He volunteered at his daughters' school and was involved in their activities, Gail Hain said. He would joke about being a stay-at-home father, but he enjoyed it, she said.

He loved woodworking and set up a wood shop in the garage. Every Christmas, he made wooden ornaments or decorations. He also made wood inlay designs known as intarsia.

The last St. Paul firefighter to die in the line of duty was fire investigator Gary Skoglund, who was killed in a 1989 fire, the department said.

The Local 21 honor guard will serve at Ray Hain's memorial service today. Visitation is from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at St. Michael's Lutheran Church, 1660 W. County Road B, Roseville. The memorial service will follow at the same location.

Besides his wife, Hain is survived by daughters Rachel, 14, and Sara, 12; father Edward Hain, of Olathe, Kan.; sisters Sherry Duval, of Cottage Grove, and Karen Sitzmann, of Lenexa, Kan.; and brother Steve Hain, of Olathe, Kan.

By Mara H. Gottfried - Pioneer Press