“With a small department we are family, so when something like this happens it feels as it’s your immediate family,” Jacksonville Fire Chief Keith Fortner said.
The Jacksonville community is mourning the loss of Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Tate, his passing was a shock to many. He began working at the Jacksonville Fire Department in 1988 and became a pillar for those around him.
“I worked hand in hand with Chief Tate as my lieutenant for a number of years, he certainly can be referred to as a rock,” Whitehouse Fire Chief Madison Johnson said “He was a very spiritual man and you know he raised a lot of us young fire men.”
Chief Tate is survived by his wife and many family members including 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
“The most moving things that Saturday night when I was at the hospital with his family and our fire family, ya know one of the things that moved me the most is when his wife looked at me and laughed and said he’s proud of you, he was so proud of you,” Johnson said.
A funeral service is scheduled at Central Baptist Church in Jacksonville this week.
“This was unexpected this was a call we all had a hand in,” Fortner said.
For details on funeral arrangements click here.