Lindale firefighter to be honored

Published on Wednesday, 3 September 2014 00:23 - Written by Kenneth Dean, kdean@tylerpaper.com

Lindale firefighter Joe Yeakley, who has spent the past eight months in Dallas recovering from injuries suffered when a roof collapsed on a house in January, is set to be honored with a statewide award on Wednesday.

Lindale Fire Lt. Kenney Vent said his department was notified that Yeakley was being honored in Austin today with the Star of Texas Award.

The award honors peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

According to the governor’s website, the award was created in 2003 when the 78th Texas Legislature passed and Governor Perry signed House Bill 1937.

The fire in which Yeakley was injured broke out just before 1 a.m., Jan. 17, at 15922 Childress Drive.

Officials said the homeowner was watching television in the den when he noticed smoke.

“He ran outside to get a water hose, and the door locked behind him,” Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Oren Hale said at the time. “He saw flames in the master bedroom and decided to go for help.”

When firefighters arrived, the roof was already partially collapsed, he said. They entered the structure, and then the garage roof collapsed, he said.

Firefighters from the Dixie, Noonday and Lindale departments responded to the blaze.

Vent said Yeakley has been improving and everyone is excited about his recovery.

“He’s doing a lot better. He has a long way to go, but he’s making a pretty remarkable recovery,” he said.

Of the award, Vent said Yeakley is scheduled to attend the ceremony in Austin on Wednesday.

“We are pretty excited and pretty proud of him,” he said.