Firefighter Found Dead in His Bunk - Tragedy Labeled 'Completely Unexpected'
A 46-year-old Washington state firefighter was found dead in his bunk Jan. 12, only hours after returning from a call.
“It is with deep sadness, that Clallam County Fire District 3 must inform the local and fire service community of the Line of Duty Death of one of our officers this morning, Captain Charles ‘Chad’ Cate,” Fire Chief Ben Andrews wrote in a Facebook post on the page of Clallam County Fire District 3.
“Captain Cate was discovered deceased in his bunk by members of his crew when they attempted to wake him this morning around 7 a.m.,” the post said.
Cate had visited two fire scenes in the early hours of Thursday, according to the Peninsula Daily News.
Cate had responded to a fire alarm activation that took place at a commercial building at about 2.25 a.m. and returned to the station.
At about 4 a.m., he contacted a fellow captain and the duty chief that he had visited the site of an earlier house fire to tell them everything was all right at the scene.
State Department of Labor and Industries personnel will investigate Cate’s death.
Clallam County Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 2933, memorialized Cate on the union’s Facebook page.
“His passing was completely unexpected and has stunned his family, friends and brothers and sisters of the IAFF 2933 and his entire Clallam County Fire District 3 family,” the post said.
#ClallamCounty: Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Firefighter Chad Cate of Clallam County Fire 3 who sadly passed away this morning.
Thank you for being a friend to our agency and for your commitment to public safety it will not be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/HrYgRoZxIm
— Trooper Katherine Weatherwax (@wspd8pio) January 12, 2023
“Chad began his career as a firefighter in 1997 and has continuously worked to advance our department, our local, and his career,” the union wrote.
“Chad spent over 20 years as a paramedic where he had the opportunity to make an impact on countless community members when they called 9-1-1. Chad was promoted to the rank of captain in 2020,” the post said.
Cate had graduated from Sequim High School and was the school’s wrestling coach.
Cate is survived by his wife, a 2-year-old son, and two adult children.
Firefighters have escorted the body of the late Clallam County Fire District 3 Captain Charles “Chad” Cate early Friday morning to Thurston County where an autopsy is being performed. A procession is scheduled to return around 2:15 p.m. today through town. pic.twitter.com/ZJtV8zv6HD
— Sequim Gazette (@SequimGazette) January 13, 2023
A Facebook post noted that the day after his death, Cate’s body was escorted by firefighters to nearby Thurston County for his autopsy.
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