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Thread: Iowa Assist. Chief Dies Of Heart Attack At Field Fire

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Iowa Assist. Chief Dies Of Heart Attack At Field Fire

    Iowa Assist. Chief Dies Of Heart Attack At Field Fire

    Courtesy of The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

    ORAN --- The Oran Volunteer Fire Department has lost a longtime firefighter.

    Assistant Chief Jim Richards died Monday while fighting a field fire just west of his hometown.

    Fire Chief Larry Wedemeier said Richards wasn't battling the blaze, which started just before 4 p.m., but was operating the pumper truck that supplied water to his fellow firefighters. click here

    "I don't think it had anything to do with smoke inhalation. He just went down. Things get a little hectic out there," Wedemeier said this morning. Preliminary tests indicate Richards died of a heart attack.

    Wedemeier said the fire started two miles west of Oran and worked its way a half mile through the field, burning out 60 to 80 acres of corn fodder and bean stubble. One farmer also lost an outbuilding, but Wedemeier said damage estimates were fairly low since the crops had already been harvested.

    Firefighters believe a burn pile from Sunday rekindled in yesterday's wind, igniting the blaze.

    Just 45 minutes into the three-hour battle, Richards went down. He was taken to Mercy Hospital in Oelwein while his fellow firefighters continued to battle the fire.

    Wedemeier said Richards will be remembered as a man always willing to pitch in for his community. that included dedicating about 30 years of his life to the volunteer fire department.

    "He's been good for this community and always very active in getting things done," Wedemeier said.

    The department plans to continue with its annual steak fry Saturday. Wedemeier expects there will be a memorial for Richards at the event, which is supposed to raise money for a new building.

    "It's going to be hard to have it, but we know the spirit Jim had for this community, he would want us to," Wedemeier said.

    Richards also owned a tractor repair business, Richards Repair.

    "He was just a wonderful husband and father," his wife, Jean, said today. The couple has two children.

    The Bremer County burn ban was lifted Friday, but Readlyn Fire Chief Brian Meyer said he has already asked the county emergency management director to have it reinstated.

    "We were out Sunday on two fires. It's just still really dry," he said.

    Firefighters and emergency responders from Readlyn, Fairbank and Jesup also responded to Monday's fire.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Richards, James

    Age: 49
    Cause of Death: Stress/Exertion
    Rank: Assistant Fire Chief
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Status: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Incident Date: 10/21/2003
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Incident Time: 16:00
    Activity Type: Water Supply
    Death Date: 10/21/2003
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Oran Fire Department
    5054 Main Street
    Oran , Iowa 50664
    Chief: Larry Wedemier

    Initial Summary:
    Assistant Fire Chief Richards succumbed to a heart attack while fighting a grass fire in rural Bremer County.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Donations can be sent to the Oran Fire Department, 5054 Main Street, Oran, IA 50664.

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