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Family of fallen McCordsville volunteer firefighter opens up about his life dedicated to service

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MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. - The family of a McCordsville firefighter who died while responding to a call Christmas Eve is opening up about him and how he dedicated his life to service.

55-year-old Rich Rehm died early Saturday when his vehicle got stuck at a railroad crossing while driving to the fire station. He called 911, but he was a struck by a train before help could arrive.

Rehm served 16 years as volunteer firefight in McCordsville and before that volunteered in Castleton. During the day, Rehm worked from home as a claims adjuster for State Farm, his son, Jacob Rehm, said.

Jacob said his father inspired him and his cousin, Jamie, to become volunteer firefighters as well.

“It was great. We’d always go out on runs together," Rehm said. "We are both going to keep doing it and (following his death) it definitely has more meaning.”

Rehm wasn't just a volunteer firefighter in McCordsville, but more of a community staple in the small town.

Rich Rehm educated more than a decade worth of school children on fire safety.

“I think that was one of his favorite things to do," Rehm said. "He always talked about it and then once he got me to do it with him I think that was even better."

"You know he was just an outgoing, friendly sort of guy," McCordsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tom Alexander said. "And that helps in that particular situation. (You) get a little rapport with the kids.”

In his free time, Rehm said his father enjoyed taking trips, fishing and watching sports, especially the Cincinnati Reds.

Rehm's family is still in the process of finalizing funeral arrangements.

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