Funeral services for Oak Grove Fire Chief Randy Pogue who died Wednesday night have been set for Friday, February 28 at the McArthur Assembly of God Church in Jacksonville.
Pogue, 49, died as a result of a line of duty accident that occurred around noon on Sunday, Feb.2. He was responding to another accident on ice slick Arkansas Highway 365 between Maumelle and North Little Rock when he hit an icy patch near the Blue Hill Community.
The department’s command vehicle, an SUV did a 180-degree spin on the ice, left the roadway and the driver’s side of the vehicle collided with an embankment, police said.
State officials state, "Chief Pogue is the fourth line of duty death in Arkansas in 2014. This is the most most firefighter deaths in our state since 1997, when five Arkansas firefighters were killed in two separate incidents."
Pogue’s widow Veronica said the impact broke his back but he wasn’t paralyzed, and caused other internal injuries. She said he was alert and talking when Metropolitan Emergency Medical System paramedics took him to Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock where he was admitted into the ICU.
His wife said the first night in the hospital her husband developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Chief Pogue had been on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma for 16 days.
As late as Wednesday afternoon she said she thought he was improving. The wife of 18 years and Pogue’s four children had kept a bedside vigil by her husband of 19 years side.
Pogue began his career as a volunteer firefighter for the rural volunteer department at age 17. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base where he worked full time as a firefighter on base during his four-year tour.
He became chief of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department in 2003. Oak Grove is an unincorporated community located between Maumelle & North Little Rock and the Rural Fire Protection District encompasses a huge district from Palarm on the south, Morgan, Marche, Blue Hill, Oak Grove and Crystal Hill communities. In addition they run medical rescue calls all over the areas mentioned but also work highway incidents on Arkansas Highway 365 and the busy I-40 interstate. They also have mutual aid agreements with North Little Rock, Maumelle and Conway.
Pogue was employed with the Arkansas State Police as supervisor of the department’s install shop.
The couple has four grown children: Josie, Rhonda, Greg and Randall.
She said she appreciated the prayers and the outreach from firefighters and others around the state, including firefighters that Chief Pogue had mentored. She said he worked with the Arkansas Forestry Association helping other volunteer rural departments.
A spokesman for that organization said,"A trust fund to assist the family with his medical and living expenses has been set up as a charitable organization at Arkansas Bank and Trust. The account number to ask for at any one of their branch offices around the state is the Randy Pogue Benevolent fund - account number 67293932."
"We work closely with Chief Pogue and his department through our mutual aid agreement on house fires, grass fires, highway vehicle extraction and have a good working relationship with him," said Maumelle Fire Chief John Payne before Pogue’s death. "They often come into Maumelle to help us and we assist them in the Oak Grove Community. We hope and pray for the best outcome for him as a friend and fellow firefighter."
Pogue’s wife said she appreciated the prayers and the outreach from firefighters and others around the state that her husband had worked with in various capacities.
Maumelle Captain Michael Cossey created a shield as a tribute to his fallen friend and firefighter - Oak Grove Fire Chief Randy Pogue. Chief Pogue’s department often helped out in Maumelle as needed under a mutual aid agreement. His team also worked all the accidents on Highway 365 and I-40 between Maumelle and NLR.
Visitation is set for Thursday Feb. 27 at the McArthur Assembly of God Church, 3192 John Hardin Drive in Jacksonville
from 5 through 9 p.m. Funeral services are scheduled for Feb. 28 at the McArthur Assembly of God Church, 3192 John Hardin Drive in Jacksonville at 2:30 p.m.
Here is the complete obituary from Roller-Owen Funeral Homes:
Randall "Randy" Pogue
Randall "Randy" Pogue, of North Little Rock passed away on Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Randy was born in Fayetteville, Tennessee to William L. Pogue and Margie Betty Wilkerson on March 10, 1964. Randy is preceded in death by both his parents, as well as his step-father, Finley Ray. All about serving his community, Randy began as a Volunteer Fireman at the age of 17. He served as a Fire Chief for the Oak Grove Fire Department and is known as a great mentor and encourager to other firefighters. Randy also worked with the Arkansas State Police as the Install Shop Supervisor. Randy’s friends and family remember him as a man who never met a stranger. He loved people and gave everyone a chance. Randy loved deer hunting and riding his motorcycle. Randy was a member of the Pulaski County Fire Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the International Association of Firefighters. He is survived by his wife of 19 years, Veronica Villalobos-Pogue; his children: Randall Pogue II, Gregory Pogue, and Josephine Pogue, all of North Little Rock, and Rhonda Pogue-Smiley of Texas; his grandchildren: Robert, Davis, and Logan Smiley of Conway, and Jase Lockhart of North Little Rock; two brothers: William "Jeff" Pogue (Elisa) of Long Island, New York and Ray Pogue of South Carolina. The family will receive visitors on Thursday, February 27th from 5:00-9:00 p.m. at MacArthur Assembly of God in Jacksonville. Funeral services will be on Friday, February 28th, at 2:30 p.m. at MacArthur Assembly of God. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the "Randy Pogue Benevolence Fund" at First Arkansas Bank & Trust Account #67293932.