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Colorado flags will be lowered at half-staff for rural fire chief who died in line of duty

Nucla Naturita Fire Protection District Chief Chester Riley died in the line of duty when he was one of the first to respond to a car crash.
Credit: Courtesy Nucla Naturita Fire Protection
Nucla Naturita Fire Protection District Chief Chester Riley died in the line of duty when he was one of the first to respond to a car crash.

NUCLA, Colo. — The Colorado flags that have already been at half-staff for the victims of the Boulder King Soopers shooting will stay down for a longtime fire chief who died in the line of duty.

Gov. Jared Polis has ordered that flags be lowered from sunrise to sunset on Saturday in memory of Nucla Naturita Fire Protection District Chief Chester Riley.

Riley died Saturday while responding to a car crash in Montrose County southeast of Nucla. He was one of the first responders on the scene, and died of a heart attack, Polis’ office said.

In a Facebook post, the Nucla Naturita Fire Department said Riley died “doing what his heart guided him to do his entire life; helping others.”

“Chief Riley gave of himself in the service of others his entire life,” the post reads. “… Chester may not have been loved by everyone, but he loved everyone. Rest in peace chief, you’ve served your fellow man with dignity and honor.

“We’ll take it from here.”

Riley was 56 years old and is survived by his wife, son, father and two brothers. His funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 27.

RELATED: Flags ordered to half-staff to honor Boulder shooting victims

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Nucla is a community on Colorado’s Western Slope around 2 hours south of Grand Junction, and Riley’s district spanned a large swath of rural land.

Polis’ order to lower flags in Riley’s honor stacks on his March 23 order, which lowered the flags for the victims of the Boulder King Soopers shooting.

The governor said Colorado’s flags should stay lowered through April 1.

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