Dallas Recruit, 46, Collapses, Dies at Training Academy

A Dallas Fire-Rescue trainee collapsed Wednesday morning during a training exercise at the facility's drill tower.

Wayne K. Clarke, 46, was retired from the U.S. Air Force and began training for a second career as a firefighter with Dallas Fire-Rescue on November 20, said Lt. Joel Lavender.

"He had an upbeat personality, excellent attitude, and was a class favorite," Lavender said. "For lack of a better term, he was just 'good people.'"

Clarke collapsed while running on the drill tower, Lavender said. Clarke was in full or partial firefighting gear. Lavender said officials are getting together the details and investigating the incident.

After Clarke collapsed at about 8 a.m., instructors on the scene immediately began CPR. He was transported to Baylor Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00 a.m.

The exact cause of death is being investigated by the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

Clarke is survived by his wife and two young children, a nine-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, Lavender said.

The last line of duty death at Dallas Fire-Rescue occurred on December 5, 2002, when Capt. Michael L. Depauw suffered a heart attack while battling a house fire.

Visitation for Clarke will be held Monday, February 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel at Restland Funeral Home, 9220 Restland Rd., Dallas, TX 75243.

The funeral service will take place the following day, February 18,, at 11:00 a.m., at Restland Funeral Home. Burial will follow at DFW National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX 75211.