Wamego Fire Chief "devastated" over firefighter's death

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Wamego Fire Department Chief Phil Stutlz remembers fellow firefighter John Randle as a “prankster”.

“We might get ready to go to training and you would dirty socks at the toe of your boot or a crunched up water bottle or something like that. He never let on that it was him, but we all knew.” Stutlz said.

Randle may be remembered for his laughs, but he was also dedicated to his service as a volunteer firefighter with the Wamego Fire Department, a position he held for 14 years.

Randle died on Tuesday after suffering an injury sustained from a fall shortly after returning from a fire call Monday morning.

Chief Stultz says Randle was firefighter with a heart of gold, and was frequently out and about around the town of Wamego.

"John was the one that was always at special events, helping firefighters along the way, I can’t say enough about his dedication to our community,” he said.

Stultz added that the support from first responders in surrounding communities has helped keep the Wamego Fire Department strong.

“We had a terrific response for help and condolences from departments within the county, actually in several counties,” he said. "Just an outcry of support for our department and our community.”

Stutlz says Randle’s passion for helping the community will live on.

“Our department is very heartfelt, we have lost a good friend, a good community member," he said. "It's been pretty devastating for our department. He is gone but he won’t be forgotten.”