CENTERVILLE, Iowa-- Family, friends and those who served with Centerville Assistant Fire Chief Mike "Coop" Cooper brought him home Monday night.
"They wanted to bring him back into town in a fashion that he deserves," said Centerville City Administrator Patrick Antonen.
A procession of police, fire, and family members made its way from the medical examiner's office in Albia to the funeral home in Centerville Monday evening. The group passed by the place where the 61-year-old fought his final fire.
Fire crews were called to Cowan Enterprises around 7:30 PM Friday, but there was nothing they could do to save the business. Cooper died after fighting the fire.
"It was like a big glow at the back of the factory," said neighbor Rose Cunningham.
Coop was the longest serving member of the Centerville Fire Department. He spent 37 years with the department and was well-known and well-respected for his service.
"It's tough on the community. We're a community of about 5,000 we're a tight-knit community and it's very, it's tough on us, but we'll make it through," said Antonen.
The State Fire Marshal's Office says it will know more once investigators are able to get inside the burned building which could happen later this week.
"It's too bad that somebody lost their life in it. Yes it is," said Cunningham.
Cooper's visitation is set for this Friday at Thomas Funeral Home. His service will take place the following day at Faith United Methodist Church in Centerville.