Fire death fifth in 26 months

    It confounds and disappoints Decatur Fire Chief Les Marckel and the entire Decatur Fire Department: a department which had gone 20 or more years without a fatality in a home fire has now had five in a little more than 26 months.  Dean Ingmire, a longtime member of the Decatur Police Department, is the latest, having died in a fire in his home early Tuesday morning.
    It was in October of 2009 that a resident of Village Green Apartments died in a fire. Not long after, after an explosion and fire in a garage on Line St. claimed another life.
    Then, last August 11, Claude E. West and his wife Donna K. West died in a house fire at 720 Elm Street, not much more than a stone's throw from the home where the fatal explosion occurred.
    Mayor John Schultz announced Ingmire's passing at Tuesday night's city council meeting, adding that "our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
    Inmire was a second-shift dispatcher for the police department. He had spent 14 years as a dispatcher and 16 years as a member of the city's reserve police force.
    In 2009, he was named captain of the reserves. He also was one of the department's instructors in firearms, defensive tactics and other areas.
    "Dean was very pro-police, very straight forward, and a major part of our system. He definitely will be missed," Chief Ken Kezler said at the council meeting.
    Marckel said the loss of Ingmire "is going to leave a big hole. Police and fire (departments) are close and this leaves a big hole in our family."