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Firefighters, family, friends pay respects to Reynolds chief

Family and friends paid their respects to beloved Reynolds fire chief Richard Sales on Thursday at Biltmore Baptist Church. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Family and friends paid their respects to beloved Reynolds fire chief Richard Sales on Thursday at Biltmore Church.

Sales died Sunday when his car veered off Interstate 40 as he headed to Wilmington to receive an award for his department.

Just after 3 p.m., Reynolds firefighters stood in silence in two lines as Sales’ casket was brought into the church.

Outside the church, his department's trucks were parked. Inside, an American flag was draped over the chief's casket. His fire jacket and helmet with his radio number 901 were also on display.

"Not everyone can be a firefighter. I'm not ashamed to say we're a special breed. And he was a special person. He was one of those. His life was dedicated, not only through the fire service but through other organizations, to serving people," Leicester fire district chief Ted Godleski said.

Reynolds is a volunteer fire department with about 30 firefighters. Sales served the department with distinction for 31 years. In addition to being chief for a decade, Sales was involved in local school safety programs and training, all to help others.

"He dedicated his life to serve, and that was from little kids to seniors and everybody in between," Asheville Fire Department's Kelley Klope said.

Sales, who was a lifelong resident of the Reynolds community, was also an EMT and served as a deacon, visiting church members who were homebound.

The funeral is 10 a.m. at Biltmore Church. The funeral procession will leave for the cemetery at Gashes Creek Baptist Church about 11:30 a.m. The route from the church is Clayton Road, to N.C. 191, to the Blue Ridge Parkway, onto Highway 74 to Gashes Creek Road.

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