Michigan Assistant Chief Collapses and Dies

The Charlevoix Township Fire Department in Charlevoix, Mich. is mourning the death of their assistant fire chief.

Ralph Cross, 73, collapsed and died as he and other department members handed out fire prevention and education literature at a local K-Mart. It happened Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m.

His is believed to have died of a heart attack.

"He was one of those people who would do anything you asked, but never complained," said Chief Curt Thompson. Thompson, who has been at the department for over 20 years, said Cross was a charter member of the volunteer department and had always been an officer there.

"He was my right-hand man in most cases."

Thompson said this was the first time the department has faced a line of duty death. "Our department seems to be handling it pretty well -- at least so far," he said.

A funeral will be held Thursday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Winchester Funeral Home, 209 State Street in Charlevoix, Mich.