Burn survivor Joe Yeakley named Lindale Fire Chief - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Burn survivor Joe Yeakley named Lindale Fire Chief

Joe Yeakley & Jerry Garner (Source: KLTV Staff) Joe Yeakley & Jerry Garner (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)

An East Texas firefighter who once thought a severe injury would end his career is now a fire chief. Earlier this month, Joe Yeakley was selected as chief for the Lindale Fire department.

"I never thought I would even be in the fire service or even be a part of the fire department I thought that part of my life, my career was over. It's a huge honor that the guys have enough confidence in me, faith in me to allow me to be their chief," Yeakley said.

Yeakley was severely burned back in 2014. While fighting a house fire a roof collapsed and he suffered 3rd degree burns on 55 percent of his body.

"He was talking about getting out of the department, and I was visiting with him one day and I said 'no, we're not talking about that yet,'" said Former Chief Jerry Garner.

Garner found a new way for Yeakley to serve his beloved community, after months of recovery, Yeakley was named the department's chaplain.

"Offering support after incidents and on incidents,” Yeakley said.

With this latest promotion, Garner believes Yeakley is ready.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that he will more than fill my shoes and take the department to the next level," Garner said.

As he steps into a new leadership role, Yeakley said he is already looking ahead.

"That's going to be our main focus going forward, is keeping up with the growth of the department and maintaining the high standards of service that we have set," Yeakley said.

He said he will never lose sight of how he survived.

"Its all been a God thing. I could not have done it on my own," Yeakley said.

Former chief Jerry Garner will continue to be a part of the Lindale Fire department and serve as the Public Information Officer.

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