Funeral services announced for fallen fire chief

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT)-Funeral and visitation services are now complete for Trumann Fire Chief Rick Winkles who died from a massive heart attack after fighting a fire.

On Tuesday night the Trumann Fire Department was paged to a grass fire that quickly turned into a full structure fire. Winkles suffered a massive heart attack while fighting the fire and was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Visitation will be held Friday from 5 until 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1301 Hwy. 69  in Trumann.  Funeral services will be held Saturday at the church at 11 a.m.

Chief Winkles was hired as a volunteer fire fighter 28 years ago. And ever since. he dedicated his life to serving his community while also leaving a legacy that will not be forgotten.

"He's gonna be missed, I mean I woke up this morning and I told my wife it felt  like a bad dream that I was having but it's not a dream it's really taking place," said Assistant Fire Chief Earnie Link.

It's a reality that the Trumann community wishes never happened. Link said his friend was a great asset to the community.

"We've had great chiefs in the past but Rick, he really worked hard when he got in to the office to get us equipment that we really needed," he said.

Winkles was promoted to fire chief in 2003.

"Rick was easy going," Link said. "If you want to go in his office and talk about something, he would work with you and do whatever you needed to do."

He said he is thankful that surrounding fire departments have stepped in to allow them time to grieve.

"You don't realize how much help you've got and how much people appreciate what you do until this situation," Link said. "Bay Fire Dept, Central Fire Dept, West Memphis, Brookland, Marked Tree, Lepanto, Jonesboro, Valley View, Caldwell Fire Dept out of St. Francis County and Blytheville Fire Dept."

"I'm just so thankful to be a part of a brotherhood like this," he said.

A brotherhood that was embodied by the man who worked just steps from his office.

"We've lost a brother and a fellow fire fighter," Link said.

Winkles would have turned 54 on Wednesday. Funeral arrangements have not been announced as of yet.

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