Wapanucka fire chief dies in tragic accident - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Wapanucka fire chief dies in tragic accident

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A 2016 photo of Wapanucka Fire Chief Gary Reeder. (File/KTEN) A 2016 photo of Wapanucka Fire Chief Gary Reeder. (File/KTEN)
A 2016 photo of Wapanucka Volunteer Fire Department Chief Gary Reeder (left) supervising the training of recruits. (File/KTEN) A 2016 photo of Wapanucka Volunteer Fire Department Chief Gary Reeder (left) supervising the training of recruits. (File/KTEN)

WAPANUCKA, Okla. — The Wapanucka Volunteer Fire Department is mourning the death of their chief.

Gary Reeder, 40, died Sunday evening after being electrocuted while working under his home.

Authorities said Reeder, who was also a part-time employee of Johnston County Emergency Medical Services, wasn't on duty when the incident occurred shortly before 5 p.m.

Kenneth Power, director of Johnston County EMS, said Reeder was experiencing electrical issues in his mobile home and had crawled beneath the structure to investigate when he received a high-voltage electrical shock.

Other Wapanucka firefighters and emergency responders — including the chief's uncle, cousin and brother — attempted to save Reeder's life.

"This is one I probably wasn't prepared for but… we did what we had to do ... it was very hard," said Assistant Chief Robert Reeder, the victim's uncle. "You just… you don't think about it, you just do what you gotta do and then afterwards, you just... you fall apart afterwards when no one's around."

The victim is survived by his wife, three children, and a special son. According to his obituary, Gary Reeder was a lifelong resident of Wapanucka, and had been with the fire department for 22 years. He served as chief for 17 of those years.

"He's built this all up, that's what he loved," Robert Reeder said. "He'd get out and work to try to find grants and whatever he could get ahold of to help build up their fire department."

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Wapanucka High School gymnasium. He will be buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Wapanucka.

"This kind of work its not made for just anybody," Robert Reeder said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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