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MILLERVILLE, MN – Authorities say two brothers are dead after being overcome by fumes in a grain silo on a western Minnesota farm.

The victims were identified as 47-year-old Curt F. Boesl and 49-year-old Steven T. Boesl. At the time of his death, Curt Boesl had been serving as the assistant fire chief for the Millerville Volunteer Fire Department, while his brother, Steven, had retired from the department. 

According to the Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen, Curt Boesl and his 11-year-old son, Alex, had been working at the top of the silo on Dec. 21 on the family farm near Millerville, about 25 miles north of Alexandria when they "were apparently overcome by fumes." Another son outside of the silo witnessed what occurred and called 911 and his uncle who lived nearby.

When rescue workers arrived on the scene, the three were unresponsive inside the silo. Fellow firefighters extricated the Boesl family members and began resuscitation efforts on the ground. Curt Boesl was flown from the scene to St Cloud Hospital where he died the next day. Alex was flown to Minneapolis Childrens Hospital where he died six days later on Dec. 27. Steve was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two brothers owned and operated Boesl Dairy with their father and two other brothers. Steve Boesl is survived by his wife, Kim, and five children, Paige, Peyton, Dalton, Dylan and Avery, while Curt Boesl (and Alex) is survived by his wife, Julie, and four children, Logan, Claire, Lance and Lily.

GoFundMe site set up to support both families raised $134,769 of the $50,000 goal thanks to the generosity of nearly 1,500 donors.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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