Firefighters across the state attend funeral of Trumann fire chief

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT)- The funeral for Trumann Fire Chief Rick Winkles was held Saturday at First Baptist Church in Trumann.

"He's going to be missed by all, loved by many, he was an excellent fire fighter and excellent chief," said Anthony Blackwood, fireman for Central Fire Department.

Firemen from all over the state lined the roads with their fire trucks in honor of their friend and mentor. Anthony Blackwood is a fireman at Central Fire Department and says Chief Winkle was like family.

"My dad started when I was nine, that's when I really got to know Rick, he was like a family member," Blackwood said.

A family member and devoted chief who Blackwood said was always there for him.

"He's one of the best, if we had more firemen like him it would be amazing," he said. "It didn't matter if it was 3 o'clock in the morning or 1 o'clock in the afternoon, he was going to be there."

"Anything I needed I could call him at the drop of a phone call he had it. And he will be greatly missed," Blackwood said.

Danny Faulkner is the Harrisburg Fire Chief and said he and Winkles joined the force around the same time.

"He leaves a great legacy for the firemen in this area," he said. "Tremendously missed this man, he was a big asset to everything."

There were even some firemen from out of state who attended like Skeeter Blonkito, a retired fireman from New Hampshire.

"Just a real privilege to be able to come and honor one of our fallen comrades," he said.

"This is when you see the actual brotherhood come together, great man taught me many of things on the fire scene," Blackwood said. "He loved his job, he loved his guys with all his heart and he did everything he could for his boys."

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has issued an executive order to fly all Arkansas flags at half-staff in honor of Winkles.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.