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Security guard dies after breaking up fight at July 4th event

A security guard at a village event in Lancaster became involved in a incident with a patron and another security guard on Monday, then collapsed about 25 minutes to a half an hour later, and died, Lancaster Town Police told The Buffalo News on Wednesday.

Lancaster Police Capt. William Karn said that based on an autopsy done on Tuesday, there were no signs of trauma on the guard. He died a natural death, Karn told The News.

The guard's identity was not released by village officials.

Two sources in Lancaster Village Hall said that a security guard working at the Village of Lancaster Independence Days celebration died after suffering a medical emergency while attempting to break up a fight Monday night inside the event's beer tent.

The guard, a man, was taken by ambulance to the St. Joseph Campus of Sisters of Charity Hospital in Cheektowaga shortly after 11 p.m. Monday, confirmed Carrie Sette-Camara, the hospital's public relations manager. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, she said.

Many of the security personnel working in the beer garden – usually four at each of two entrances – were off-duty Lancaster Town Police officers, said village hall sources.

In addition, several on-duty town police officers were assigned to patrol the festival grounds.

"The family involved deserves peace. This is a very tragic event," said Dawn Gaczewski, special events coordinator for the Village of Lancaster, who declined further comment.

Mayor William C. Schroeder said he has heard rumors that a security officer died but he did not know the person's identity. He was on the five-acre festival site Monday night, but said he was not at the beer tent. He was not notified about the death by town police or a security firm hired to staff the event, Schroeder said.

"They (the security company) really didn't tell the village a lot about it," Schroeder said.

The victim was treated at the scene by members of the Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance Corps, who established an emergency staging area at 6 W. Main St.

The beer garden – a fenced-in tented area located at the foot of West Main Street in a parking lot near Cayuga Creek – routinely attracts crowds that number from 2,000 to 2,500 people, said those familiar with its operations. The live performance stage faces the beer garden.

Independence Days is an annual celebration in the village that this year ran from 6 p.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Tuesday. Attractions included a midway, art show, performance stage featuring live entertainment, Boys & Girls Club 10K run and beer garden.

News Staff Reporter Joseph Popiolkowski contributed to this story.

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