Incident Name: Unknown (Multi-acre brush fire near Fort Calhoun)
Date:  3/10/2021
Personnel: Dennis Bender
Age:  78
Agency/Organization: Ponca Hills Volunteer Fire Department
Position: Firefighter/Paramedic


On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Firefighter/Paramedic Dennis M. Bender responded to the third wildland fire call of the day. He suffered a medical emergency at the scene and was immediately taken to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. He was Omaha’s longest-serving paramedic.

The first call, a small brush fire with downed power lines on North River Drive, came at 11:38 a.m. The second fire, which involved a structure and several acres of farmland northwest of the Blair airport, came at 2:28 p.m. And the third fire, a multi-acre brush fire east of Fort Calhoun on the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, was reported at 3:32 p.m.


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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

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Media Articles and Reports

Omaha World Herald

‘“He never talked about himself,”’ Fred Bender said Thursday. “’He just did things for others. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone, and he always took a chance on people. He gave second, third and fourth chances because he believed in people.”’

The Independent

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Dennis Michael Bender, age 78, the son of Frederick J. and Eilene (Powers) Bender, was born November 22, 1942 in Omaha, Nebraska. He passed away March 10, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dennis is survived by his children: Shelly Bender, Scott Bender, George Bender (Diana); two grandchildren: Xander and Bryanna; siblings: Fred Bender (Betsy), Jerry Bender, Mary Potmesil (Delbert), Peggy Cruver, SharonAnn Bender; loving family of Ponca Hills Fire Department and all other Volunteer Fire Departments; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Bender; brothers: Thomas and Patrick Bender.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL 11:00 A.M., Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 215 North 13th Street, Fort Calhoun, NE 68023. Visitation Monday, 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. with Rosary at 7:00 P.M. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fort Calhoun. Burial with Honors at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Ponca Hills Fire Department Ambulance Fund.

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Contributors to this article:  Hannah Jones

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