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BREAKING: Boone County assistant fire chief dies during flash flooding rescue operations

Columbia firefighters confirm that Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief Matthew Tobben was killed during rescue operations during this morning’s flash flooding in the Columbia area.

Columbia Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Rodriguez tells 939 the Eagle that Mr. Tobben’s boat lost power during rescue operations and capsized. The incident happened at about 5 am in the Bear Creek near Rangline. Boone County Fire Protection District chief Scott Olsen’s Facebook post says assistant chief Tobben was assisting Columbia firefighters during a swift water operation at Rangeline and Bear Creek. Chief Olsen says the firefighters had rescued two individuals when the inflatable boat overturned. Chief Olsen says Mr. Tobben was thrown from the boat and drowned. The Columbia firefighter and the two victims originally rescued are doing okay, according to Chief Olsen.

Columbia and Boone County authorities used boats and helicopters as they checked rivers. Mr. Tobben served at the Boone County Fire Protection District’s Bureau Director of Training, according to their website.

Ms. Rodriguez tells 939 the Eagle that they’ve rescued five people and one dog from floodwaters. She says there was flooding at Broadway and Providence in downtown Columbia and near Bear Creek and Rangeline.

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