American and state flags at every Missouri fire house will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday to honor a firefighter from eastern Missouri’s DeSoto who died in the line of duty, two days after battling a structure fire.

Flags flying at half-staff

DeSoto, a town of about 6,300, is located in Jefferson County. In addition to the order involving fire houses, Governor Mike Parson has also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at all government buildings Wednesday in Jefferson County, in honor of DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District Fire Marshal/Lieutenant Ronald Wehlage Jr.

The governor’s office says the 40-year-old Wehlage battled a structure fire on June 28 and died two days later, following a medical emergency. His death is considered to be in the line of duty, according to the governor.

“At an early age, Ronald Wehlage chose a career path based on service to others,” Governor Parson says, in a statement. “He was committed to protecting others, educating residents and children about the importance of fire safety, and improving the lives of the people he served. Lieutenant Wehlage will be remembered for his devotion to ensuring the people of the DeSoto Rural Fire Protection were safe and secure.”

As fire marshal, Mr. Wehlage was responsible for the district’s fire safety education.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday, and the governor has also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday at the Fire Fighters Memorial in mid-Missouri’s Kingdom City.

Our Missourinet Festus affiliate KJFF reports DeSoto Rural held an apparatus procession tonight, in honor of Lt. Wehlage. It took place during visitation outside Mahn Funeral Home in DeSoto.

Mr. Wehlage became a full-time firefighter with the DeSoto district in 2004.

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