Ricky Winkles

Ricky L. Winkles
Trumann Fire Department - January 28, 20214

Chief Winkles responded to the report of a wildland fire at 1214hrs. He was first on the scene and found that the fire had spread to a residence. While he waited for an engine to arrive on the scene, he fought the fire on the exterior of the structure. When the engine arrived, he donned an SCBA and attacked the interior fire along with another firefighter. After approximately 15 minutes, Chief Winkles exited the structure when his low air alarm sounded. He reported feeling sick and contacted the EMS director. 

At EMS headquarters, Chief Winkles was found to be suffering an acute heart attack. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and suffered cardiac arrest during the transport. He was treated in the ambulance and in the hospital but suffered another heart attack after approximately one hour in the hospital’s intensive care unit. He was later pronounced dead.

Ricky started his career as a firefighter in 1986 when he became a volunteer for the Trumann Fire Department. He became a full-time firefighter at TFD in 1988 and advanced through the ranks to become fire chief in 2004. He was still serving in this   position when he passed in the line of duty on January 28, 2014. Trumann’s mayor said many times that “he loved his city,” and he did. Ricky had earned an associate’s degree in fire science. He was a member of the National Guard for thirteen years. He served Poinsett County, Arkansas, as an elected justice of the peace for eight years. He worked as a reserve deputy for the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Department and was a certified EMT. He was a licensed arson investigator and was head of the search and rescue team for Poinsett County. He had been a Freemason for over twenty years and was a member of McCormick Baptist Church in Trumann, Arkansas. When he was not serving the public, he enjoyed deer and duck hunting, camping and, especially, riding his Harley  Davidson motorcycle. 

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