Bienville firefighters honor fallen comrade with final call - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Bienville firefighters honor fallen comrade with final call

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While the Thomas family mourns the loss of their relative, here in Arcadia, firefighters from all over Bienville Parish are planning to honor their fallen fellow brother.

Since the early 1990s Robert Thomas had been driving fire trucks for Bienville Parish Fire Districts. Tragically, Monday night, Thomas was killed when he lost control of the Freightliner fire truck that he was driving on his way back from a fire.

Tire marks and glass serve as a reminder of what happened there, and firefighters at the North Bienville District - although they didn't work directly with Thomas - knew him, and mourn for him and his family.

"It hurts all of us. It just does. It deeply does," said Lloyd Betsold with North Bienville Fire District. "You just feel it because of the brotherhood and sisterhood that we have as a volunteer organization," said Lloyd Betsold with North Bienville Fire District.

"Sometimes we don't understand why such bad things happen. Especially to such good people," said Sandy Heflin with North Bienville Fire District.

Heflin was, what she called, small town friends with Thomas. She saidhe hadd a long history of service.

They met in Jonesboro, while he served as a police officer, then he worked as a deputy for Bienville Parish Sheriff's Office, and volunteered at Dist. 7.

Now a volunteer firefighter herself, it makes the loss of her friend mean even more, one that she says she'll be reminded of daily.

"Every time I see a fire truck, every time I see a fireman, every time I smell smoke," she said of the things that bring back memories of her lost friend.

Along with a fire truck procession, bagpipes, and a full honor guard, the fire department also performs a "last call." They will call Robert Bruce Thomas's number for the last time. It's their final goodbye to a friend that served with them for over 20 years.

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