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Thread: 72-Year-Old Kentucky Fire Chief, FD Founder, Dies After Heart Attack

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    72-Year-Old Kentucky Fire Chief, FD Founder, Dies After Heart Attack

    72-Year-Old Kentucky Fire Chief, FD Founder, Dies After Heart Attack

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News

    Kentucky Fire Chief Lester Philips died August 4, 2004 after doing what he loved best, co-workers said - fighting fires and helping people.

    Phillips, 72, founded the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department in 1981 and served as Chief until his death.

    "He didn't have anything to start with," said Chief Jack Lundy. "Just a wagon with hose on the back like in the old days."

    "From then on we have prospered," Lundy said.

    Phillips raised money and recruited volunteers, building the department up to one of the largest in Harlan County today, with 34 volunteers and 9 vehicles, Lundy said.

    Phillips died after suffering a heart attack at the scene of a house fire, Lundy said. He had complained of chest pains at the fire scene, so firefighters helped him into a truck to get him away from the smoke. He later drove back to the station and then went home, and only agreed to visit a hospital after much persuasion from his son, Lundy said. Phillips did not recover from the heart attack and died a few days after the incident at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington.

    Phillips was always looking for ways to help people out, Lundy said, such as using his own backhoe to clean the roads in the winter. "Everybody knew him, everybody," Lundy said.

    He said Phillips will also be remembered for his joyful nature. He loved to joke around and would hold cookouts prior to training exercises. "He just liked to be happy and get things going," Lundy said.

    Phillips was also a former member of the Harlan Rescue Squad and Harlan VFD, and was inducted into the Southeast Kentucky Firefighters Hall of Fame in 2002 for his many years of dedication to the fire service.

    In addition to his work at the fire department, Phillips worked until is death as owner and operator of Lester Phillips Moving and Storage and Lester Phillips Trucking and Excavating companies.

    He is preceded in death by his wife and a son, and has several surviving children and grandchildren.

    For his funeral services, Phillips was carried on the back of a 1959 GMC, the first truck the department had ever purchased - just as he wanted, Lundy said. The department has also prepared a plaque to place on the front of the fire station in remembrance of the founder and fire chief.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...5&sectionId=39

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Phillips, Sunshine Fire Department founder, dies at 72

    Lester Phillips founded the Sunshine Fire Department .

    By DANIEL BRUCE

    The smoke was thick from fires burning around the city, hanging over the town like a fog. As the orange flames climbed the mountain toward Fairview, Lester Phillips and the men of the Sunshine Fire Department and others like them stood between the flames and the homes of their neighbors.

    With a cigar between his teeth, Phillips continually worked the controls of his CASE bulldozer during those harrowing days in the fall of 2000 to cut firelines while his firefighters battled for hours on end to contain the blaze.


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    Philips, Lester

    Age: 72
    Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
    Rank: Chief
    Nature of Death: Heart Attack
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 08/02/2004
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time:
    Activity Type: Incident Command
    Death Date: 08/04/2004
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department
    443 KY 3459
    Harlan , Kentucky 40831

    Initial Summary:
    Chief Philips died in the hospital several days after suffering an apparent heart attack at the scene of a house fire.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Sunshine Baptist Church Building Fund at P.O. Box 973, Harlan, KY 40831; or the Sunshine Fire Department, 443 KY 3459, Harlan, KY 40831.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2004

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