Unexpectedly - Washington Fire Captain Found Dead In Bed Just Hours After Responding To Call

 January 15, 2023

According to a press release, Fire Captain, Charles “Chad” Cate, 46,  from Clallam County Fire District 3, in Clallam County, Washington, was found deceased in his bunk bed by fellow firefighters at the station at around 7:00 a.m. Reportedly, he was last seen at around 2:20 a.m. that same morning after returning to the station from a fire alarm activation at a commercial building.

As reported by to the U.S. Fire Administration, Cate was said to have returned to the site of an earlier house fire in the Dungeness neighborhood in Sequim, where he texted the captain at around 4:00 a.m. to tell him all was good at the scene. A local firefighter union stated in a Facebook post, paying tribute to Cate-

“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,”

-Local Fire Fighter Union Facebook Post

A part of the standard protocol, for any state employee who dies, or is injured on the job, the Department of Labor and Industries is investigating the firefighter’s death, according to a report by Peninsula Daily News. The cause of Cate’s death remains unknown. However, an autopsy performed later on Thursday, may lend more clarity, according to the Daily News.

The Clallam County Fire District said in a statement-

“[Cate] was raised in the area and graduated from Sequim High School where he has continued to be involved as the Wrestling Coach. He was hired by the District in 1997 as a firefighter/paramedic and promoted to the rank of captain in 2020,”

-Clallam County Fire District

The IAFF 2993 union and the fire department are working with Cate’s family to organize his funeral in the coming days.

Captain Cate leaves behind a wife, his two-year-old son, and two adult children.

Though it has not been released how Cate died, it is certain that as a first responder, he worked up to the point of his untimely death, in service to the people of his district. The thoughts and prayers of many, go out to his family, colleagues, and the high-school team he coached for God’s peace in this time of real uncertainty.

Serving as an example of courage, bravery and faithfulness, Captain Cage’s legacy of commitment, should stand as a beacon, to not only those in his family, close circle, fire team and community – but to this nation, as it considers the impact of one life, dedicated to the many.

“Sadly enough, the most painful goodbyes are the ones that are left unsaid and never explained.”

-Jonathan Harnisch


“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say it’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem, then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

-Fred Rogers
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