Longtime Colfax Fire Chief Jim Krouse, who served as Chief of the Colfax Fire Department for 40 years, and was a volunteer firefighter in Colfax for 52 years, died from an apparent heart attack while fighting a wildfire Saturday afternoon.
According to the Colfax Fire Department, Krouse was responding to a wildfire on Green Hollow Road around 3:00pm on Saturday, and collapsed when he was pulling a hose at the scene.
An ambulance rushed Krouse to Whitman Medical Center in Colfax, but doctors were unable to revive him.
Crews from District 12, District 11, Steptoe, Albion, Palouse, Colfax City, and other rural departments worked together to extinguish the blaze. Word of Krouse’s death quickly spread, and when crews had finished at the scene, they assembled at Whitman Medical Center.
The crews from all over Whitman County started a procession with the ambulance that carried Krouse’s body, draped in an American flag, to Bruning Funeral Home.
Chief Michael Chapman gathered his firefighters at the fire station to debrief and share stories of the former chief, many of whom they had served with for a number of years. Chapman passed along his department’s gratitude for the “compassionate and excellent work” of the Whitcom Emergency Dispatchers during the fire, many of whom had also taken radio calls from Krouse over the years.
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