Lindale firefighter Joe Yeakley named fire chief - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Lindale firefighter Joe Yeakley named fire chief

Joe Yeakley receiving award from Gov. Perry. Joe Yeakley receiving award from Gov. Perry.

Lindale's fire department has a new chief, and his name is a familiar one to many East Texans.

Joe Yeakley has been chosen to lead the department as fire chief. He steps in after current chief Jerry Garner, who has been a firefighter for 55 years total, and was chief for Lindale's department for six years altogether, decided to pass the baton to someone else.

"It was time to hand over  the reins to someone a bit younger who may have some new ideas and a lot of energy. I know Joe Yeakley will do a great job, and I wasn't going to step down as chief until I knew that he would step up to take the position, and he did." 

Yeakley became a well-known figure in East Texas after he was seriously injured in 2014, when a roof collapsed on him while he was fighting a house fire. Yeakley suffered third degree burns on 55 percent of his body. Signs popped up all over Lindale, reminding passers-by to "Pray for Joe." The signs spread to surrounding communities, as well.

Yeakley spent many months recovering, and has since received the Texas Star award from the governor, and has received national recognition for his rehabilitation work in a local gym after he left the hospital in Dallas.

Jerry Garner will continue to be a part of the Lindale Fire Department, assisting with PIO duties and "anything else Joe needs me to do." 

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