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FIREFIGHTER/EMT GERALD R. WETHERELL, 74, of the Denton Township Fire Department in Prudenville, MI, died on Feb. 28. Wetherell suffered a medical emergency while responding to a call involving a snowmobile accident. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital in West Branch, where he died. Wetherell was a 35-year veteran of the fire service.
CAPTAIN MARK G. RATLEDGE, 35, of the Cottonwood, CA, Fire Protection District died on Feb. 29. Ratledge was struck by another vehicle while working at a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 5. He was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, where he died. Interstate 5 was reportedly covered with hail and snow at the time of the accidents.
A 2006 firefighter death was ruled a line-of-duty death. FIREFIGHTER J. DOUGLAS WALLER of the South King County, WA, Fire Rescue Department contracted HIV while providing assistance to a bleeding victim. The victim later notified firefighters that he was HIV positive and the firefighters were tested. Waller tested negative at the time and retired from the department in 2000. Six years later, however, he tested positive and died two months later.