A Clarion County man who became a volunteer firefighter last year died at the scene of a fire early Monday.
Ryan Wingard, 28, was among the members of Strattanville Volunteer Fire Co. who responded to a debris fire near Virgin Alley and Fisher Road shortly before 4 a.m., said company spokeswoman Judy Myers.
Chief Bill Stroup said Wingard complained to another firefighter of a headache, then collapsed. An ambulance was called at 4:09 a.m., and Wingard was pronounced dead at Clarion Hospital at 4:42 a.m.
Stroup said it was the first death in the line of duty in the department's 71-year history.
Myers said Wingard was a lifelong resident of Strattanville, located about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
She said he had joined the company in November and "was so happy to be a fireman; so excited. He said to his dad just this weekend that he was getting to live his dream."
Wingard graduated from Clarion-Limestone Junior-Senior High School in 2000, and had wanted to be a firefighter all his life, said his brother, Doug Wingard, 32. "It was always his dream to do this, so I guess he died doing what he loved."
Ryan Wingard was a Steelers fan and enjoyed NASCAR races, his brother said.
Clarion County Coroner Terry Shaffer said an autopsy was completed yesterday afternoon, but he was waiting for the results of toxicology tests before ruling on the cause of Wingard's death.
Wingard is survived by his wife, Lynn; father, Dennis; mother, Sharlene; and brothers, Brad and Doug.
Visitation for Firefighter Wingard is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Robert V. Burns Funeral Home in Clarion, Penn.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service