FLORENCE – A sign on the front door of the Fremont Lanes bowling alley in Florence, Colorado says “closed until further notice.” It went up Sunday afternoon when the owner was killed in a tragic accident.
Ector Rodriquez went to the back to fix one of the automatic pin setters. An employee noticed he had been gone longer than typical. She went to find out what was taking so long. “She walked back there, found him impaled in the machine. Called 911,” said Florence Police Chief, Mike Delaurentis. Police and fire responded, but 65-year-old Rodriquez could not be saved. He died from the injuries.
The disturbing death is also the loss of a well-known community member. There are flowers sitting at the front entrance. One bouquet has note with the phrase, “hero of the community.”
Florence is a small town and Rodriguez has been made people feel welcome at the bowling alley for decades. He often sat on a bench out front greeting and talking to people. Most locals know him or they know someone who knows him. “My heart hurts deeply for the fact that he’s not here anymore,” said Makara, a long time resident familiar with Rodriguez, “This is going to be a loss to downtown and being a small town, that kind of loss is a big loss.”