Human Interest Father of 3 and President of Boys and Girls Homes of N.C. Dies Alongside 2 Dogs in House Fire Officials said Ricky Creech was found dead at his Lake Waccamaw home after a fire broke out at the residence around 1 a.m. on Saturday, per multiple reports By Abigail Adams Abigail Adams Instagram Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 18, 2022 12:57 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Peacock Funeral Home A father of three who served as president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina and two service dogs died in an early morning fire that broke out at a home in Lake Waccamaw. Lake Waccamaw Fire and Rescue said Ricky Creech was found dead at his Columbus County home after a fire broke out at the residence around 1 a.m. on Saturday, according to CBS affiliate WNCN and NBC affiliate WCET. Paws4people confirmed in a Facebook post that "two of our beloved facility dogs" — Zara and Kiawah — were also killed in the "tragic house fire." Chief Brandy Nance said crews located Creech and the two dogs after extinguishing the flames, per the reports. Father of 15 Dies After Being Struck by Lightning During Storm: 'He Was Our Everything,' Says Wife "Our condolences from Lake Waccamaw fire and rescue in the town of Lake Waccamaw go to the Boys and Girls Home and the family of Ricky Creech," Nance added. LWFR did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday. Board Chairman Dave Wyatt said in a news release that Creech's "fearless leadership and passion for the youth and families in our care will be sorely missed." "We keep his family in our prayers," Wyatt said. "We know that the children served by BGHNC were his priority and he would want the work to continue." 'Heroic' Indiana Man, 25, Runs Into Burning Home to Save 5 Children Trapped Inside Creech, an ordained minister, was named president and CEO of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina in October 2020, according to the organization's website. He previously served as CEO at Southstone Behavioral Center in Virginia and president and CEO of Buckhorn Children and Family Services. He was also a graduate of the South Carolina Fire Academy. In a post shared Sunday on the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina's Facebook page, Creech's family thanked the community for its support in wake of the father's death. "To all of our friends and family, we are truly grateful for all the kind words and tributes we have seen and heard over the past 24 hours," the family said, adding, "We are heartbroken and soaking up all this love." 4 Dead After Small Planes Collide in Skies Near Las Vegas Nance described Creech as "a friend" of the department in a post on LWFR's Facebook page, adding that they "were working on a progressive partnership together with many ideas for the future." "We are humbled by the family's generosity, saddened by this loss, and stand by to help any way we can," Nance said. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. In lieu of flowers, Creech's family has requested donations be made "in his memory" to either the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina or the Lake Waccamaw Fire Department. "Both of these organizations held a special place in my dad's heart," they said in Sunday's Facebook post. "Always the fireman and always the minister with a heart for our foster care and community." Chief Mission Officer Ray Cockrell had been named as acting president and CEO of the nonprofit organization following Creech's "sudden" and "unexpected" death, the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina said.