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Retired Boyle fire chief dies at 83

Retired Boyle County Fire Chief and longtime firefighter Donald “Bud” Sexton died early Wednesday morning in Danville following a lingering illness. He was 83.

Sexton started his career as a firefighter in 1954 at the age of 19, when the E.W. Brown plant was being built near Burgin, according to a story about him in The Advocate-Messenger on Jan. 12, 1992. “People were wanting to build houses, but the insurance rates were so high,” he said.

In 1954, Burgin started collecting a tax to rebuild its fire department, which had declined, like most other rural fire departments, following World War II and the Korean War. The equipment of rural fire departments at the time was shoddy. Sexton trained on a 1933 GMC and a car garage was used as the fire station.

Over the years, he helped to start fire stations in Lincoln and Garrard counties.

Sexton started working at the Boyle Fire Department in 1988.

As a firefighter and fire chief in Boyle County, Sexton worked closely with former County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder. On Wednesday afternoon, Wilder said, “Bud had the true spirit of a volunteer firefighter. He loved his community and was a pleasure to work with.”

Wilder said Sexton was an important factor in the fire department and was responsible for “a lot of growth in the Boyle County Fire Department.”

Sexton was “a good community-minded person and was my friend,” Wilder said.

Upon his retirement from the Boyle Fire Department in July 2006, Sexton said he experienced many changes over the years in technology and machinery, building materials and turnout gear. For example, cotton fire suits that firefighters once worn were replaced by fireproof Nomex, he said.

After 52 years working as a firefighter, Sexton said he had a good idea of what makes a good one. “You need somebody with ambition, someone who will work hard.”

In another story about Sexton The Advocate-Messenger ran in 1992, Sexton said, “Some people play golf or go fishing. I play with fire departments.”

Arrangements for Bud Sexton’s funeral are pending at Stith Funeral Home in Danville.