KINLOCH, MO (KTVI)-- A favorite firefighter in the Kinloch Fire District is hospitalized in grave condition. Captain Richard Parks, 47, has been with Kinloch since he was 16 years old.
Battalion Chief Shannon Jones said, “Everybody’s pretty devastated we’re trying to stay strong.” Captain Mike Bowman added, “Rich is like a father figure to me. He’s been here since the day I started.”
It all began a few weeks ago at a home that caught fire. Kinloch crews responded and helped rescue a teenage boy from the burning structure. Hours later, back at the firehouse Parks collapsed and he’s been hospitalized ever since. Captain Bowman said Parks is a very generous man, “Rich is the type of person even if it’s the last ting he has he’ll give you the shirt off his back.”
Kinloch is not a wealthy community and neither is the all-volunteer fire company. Parks was instrumental in getting media attention focused on their needs. Like the winter when the garage door on the firehouse would not close and the building got very cold.
Another time the electricity was shut off. Although Kinloch firefighters are not paid, Parks has given his own money to keep the place going.
Captain Bowman said, “There are times when it comes to putting fuel in the truck the district didn’t have the money, he would come out of pocket or if a bill needed to get paid he would come out of pocket.