Bassfield Fire Chief dies battling grass-fire, 'massive' heart attack coroner says

BASSFIELD, Miss. - The Bassfield community is mourning the death of Fire Chief Bill Matthews.

According to the Jefferson Davis county Deputy Coroner Kathy Stephens, Chief Matthews, 73, died from a massive heart attack Tuesday.

Bassfield Mayor Pat Courtney said Chief Matthews was attempting to put out a grass fire behind a local church.

She said a firefighter was calling for his name as the flames drew closer and closer, but found Chief Matthews inside the fire truck.

"He did suffer from pre-existing heart conditions" said Mayor Courtney. She said Chief Matthews never missed a fire call during the seven years he has worked with the department.

“He was very active in our community, he came to work everyday, it did not matter if it was holiday, Sunday, whatever, he came to work" said Mayor Courtney.

She added, "I turn the corner to come down to city hall, his red truck was sitting there, he was very active, dependable, loyal, went to every fire call, in the county he was active.”

The town has flags half-mast in honor of Chief Matthews.

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