MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. – The McCordsville community is mourning the loss of one of its volunteer firefighters after he died on the way to a call Christmas Eve.
Rich Rehm, 55, died around 1:26 a.m. Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a train.
“We’ll remember him for a long, long time,” McCordsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tom Alexander said. “He was just a nice guy, willing to help out, friendly and just a guy you’d like to be with.”
Rehm was on his way to the fire department Christmas Eve for a call when Alexander said his vehicle somehow got stuck on the railroad crossing just west of downtown McCordsville and about a half mile away from the fire house.
While finishing up a call that turned out to be a false alarm, Alexander and his crew got another call for a train and vehicle accident.
The volunteer department responded to that call and during their rescue efforts they realized the victim was one of their own.
“The chances of dealing with friends or neighbors is fairly high,” Alexander said. “But when it’s one of your buddies, that’s a little different story then. It cuts you a little different way.”
The department had a meeting Saturday morning to tell all the firefighters and help any struggling with the loss.
Rehm leaves behind four children. His oldest son, Jacob Rehm, is also a volunteer firefighter in McCordsville.
Rehm’s family is working with the organization Supporting Heroes on funeral arrangements.