Flags ordered at half-staff in New Madrid Co. after assist. fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Flags ordered at half-staff in New Madrid Co. after assist. fire chief dies in line of duty

(Source: Matthews MO Volunteer Fire Dept./Facebook) (Source: Matthews MO Volunteer Fire Dept./Facebook)
(Source: Ponder Funeral Home) (Source: Ponder Funeral Home)
NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Flags in New Madrid County, Missouri have been ordered at half-staff on Saturday, August 27 in honor of an assistant chief who died in the line of duty.

Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the flags at all state and government buildings in the county to be flown at half-staff in honor of Assistant Chief Todd Hartlein, 49, of the Matthews Volunteer Fire Department.

He died in the line of duty on Aug. 24 after responding to a motor vehicle crash.

The flags will fly at half-staff from sunrise until sunset on Saturday, the day funeral services for Hartlein will take place.

"It's a brotherhood, and we're honoring him, cause he was one of our brothers," Thomas Gantner, the Chief of the Matthews Volunteer Fire Department said.

Gantner is still coming to grips with the sudden loss of Assistant Chief Todd Hartlein.

"Todd would do anything for anybody, matter of fact after he passed, a lady came up to one of my firefighters and said 'if Todd wasn't around my daughter wouldn't be alive,'" Gantner said.

Community members said he was a giver and would help anyone.

"There was a fire a long time ago, when he's 16 years old and he'd told somebody that he was going to be a volunteer fireman, and they said 'no you can't' and he said 'yes, I will' and he just grabbed a hose and started helping everybody out," Gantner said.

And even after his passing, he's still looking over his brothers.

"The way Todd was he, like I said we're volunteers, we don't have much money, and instead of flowers he would request that donations to the Matthews Fire Department be made in honor of him," Gantner said.

The visitation will be from 11 a.m. on Saturday until 2 p.m. at Ponder Funeral Home in Sikeston, Mo. The funeral service will follow. You can click here for more information.

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