Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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September 24, 2013

Community mourns loss of fire chief

(Continued)

“Both were in public service and known throughout the community and very much appreciated,” Howerton said, adding, “Robin did a tremendous job. She was very capable and well trained and knowledgeable. She was always very professional. The department has grown during her tenure. I don’t think we could ask for anyone better to do that job.”

“This was an unbelievable event,” he said of receiving a call sometime around 7 p.m. Friday night, informing him of Allen’s death.

He said Allen was in the city offices Thursday and Friday and spoke to him on Thursday. He said they “talked about the fact that she was much improved and was excited that she was coming back to work. She looked good and energetic and looked like everything was heading in right direction. And then get the news [Friday night].”

“It’s just a tragedy,” Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer told the Index.

He said while Allen’s death was likely from natural causes, her body was sent for autopsy, primarily because her death was unwitnessed and to “get closure on what the problem was.”

Reasoner said he has been coordinating a ’round-the-clock firefighter’s vigil for Allen.

“We have a tradition in the fire service that someone stays with the body 24 hours a day until the funeral,” Reasoner explained, adding that local departments did this with the late MWVFD Chief and Palo Pinto County Fire Marshall Steve Perdue, who died in 2011.

He is setting up 2-hour shifts for emergency personnel to stand vigil in uniform beside her body until her funeral.

The firefighters’ vigil extends beyond the county limits.

Reasoner said firefighters escorted Allen’s body to Dallas Friday night, for autopsy, stayed with her overnight and returned with her Saturday afternoon.

He said several Metroplex-area fire departments assisted with the return escort, following in their vehicles through Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth and Weatherford. He said when the escort arrived on the western edge of Weatherford, Cool, Garner, Greenwood and Millsap VFDs fell in line to help escort her to the edge of Mineral Wells. At the Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway bridge, Reasoner said city and volunteer departments escorted her through town to Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner, which he said is handling the funeral arrangements.

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