Skip to Content

Fallen Boone County assistant fire chief escorted back to hometown; Task Force One members to come back to Mid-Missouri


A Dignified Honor Procession for fallen Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matt Tobben took place Tuesday morning, according to a social media post by the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team.

"A small procession will escort Assistant Chief Matt Tobben back to his hometown of Union, Mo. will occur Tuesday, July 9, 2024," the post read. "Tentative departure time from Columbia, Mo is 10:15 and the procession will travel Interstate 70 to Highway 47 toward Union. The procession will turn on Independence Drive then onto Church Street to Oltmann Funeral Home."

Boone County Assistant Fire Chief Gale Blomenkamp said the trip to Union "very moving."

"As we're going down I-70, every overpass, literally every overpass that we went by had emergency services and citizens standing there, saluting Chief Tobben on the way home to Union, Missouri," Blomenkamp said.

Tobben drowned Monday morning during a water rescue in north Columbia after his water rescue boat lost power, overturned and threw him and three other people out of the boat. The three other people were rescued, but Tobben never resurfaced.

A drowning report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol stated the boat the four people were riding in – a 2008 Zodiac FC420 – became “swamped with water” after it lost power. The report states the boat tipped at 4:17 a.m.

The report describes Tobben as the driver of the boat and lists three passengers:

  • Columbia firefighter Derek Abbott, 36, of Fulton
  • Paige Pace, 29 of Columbia
  • Charlie Resonno, 38, of Columbia

Abbott had no reported injuries, while Pace and Resonno each had minor injuries, the report states. All three were released at the scene, according to the report.

Blomenkamp said on Monday that Tobben tried to grab a tow line that was thrown at him. Blomenkamp said Tobben's life jacket and helmet were found floating downstream, but it's not known if Tobben took them off himself or if they were pushed off by the water.

Blomenkamp said Tobben had just started his position as Director of Training with the department on May 1.

Before then, Tobben had spent 19 years with the Union, Missouri, fire department and also served 12 years with Missouri Task Force 1.

Since the news broke on Monday, Blomenkamp said Tobben's family has received an outpour of support across Mid Missouri.

"They've got a lot of support from Union. A lot of members have come to their residence here in Boone County," Blomenkamp said. "That's one thing about this fire or EMS community is we stick together when the time comes."

Blomenkamp added that updates regarding funeral arrangements will likely be posted on the Boone County Fire Protection District Facebook page Wednesday.

Missouri Task Force One has also been demobilized from its Texas relief efforts because of Tobben's death. According to Blomenkamp, four members are flying home from Texas into Columbia on Tuesday evening so they can be a part of Tobben's funeral proceedings. Blomenkamp said they were friends of Tobben from the Union and St. Louis areas.

Blomenkamp said the rest of Missouri Task Force One will be home Wednesday afternoon. Those members started driving back from College Station, Texas, on Tuesday morning. Another three team members who were deployed as part of the incident support team, will be demobilized Wednesday and arrive in Mid-Missouri on Thursday.

The Boone County Fire Protection District later shared return information about Task Force One members on its Facebook page.

Article Topic Follows: Boone

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Olivia Hayes

Olivia is a summer intern at ABC 17 News.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content