ROCKFORD -- Rockford's bravest lost one of their own Monday when District Chief Kevin McIntyre died of an apparent heart attack at his home. Police were called to McIntyre's home on Sage Drive around 5:30 p.m. and discovered his body. The Winnebago County coroner's office was called out, and the 45-year-old firefighter was pronounced dead at 5:43 p.m.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.
At an impromptu news conference at 8:30 p.m. at the main fire station on Second Street, Fire Chief Bill Robertson said McIntyre will be missed.
"It was always comforting when he was on duty, very honestly, because his first concern was always the care of the firefighters and the care of the community," Robertson said.
McIntyre was a junior firefighter before he became a full-fledged member of the department in February 1980. He made lieutenant in January of 1987, captain in January of 1993 and was named district chief in January of 1996.
"He rose through the ranks very quickly," Robertson said. "He was one of the youngest lieutenants ever on the job, one of the youngest captains and one of the youngest district chiefs. ... He was extremely knowledgeable and loved the fire service."
McIntyre leaves behind a wife and two children.
Robertson said he wasn't aware of any health problems with his district chief.
"Kevin went home last night about 7 o'clock with a severe backache," Robertson said. "I don't know how that fits into it."