Fallen Texas Fire Captain Remembered at Funeral

Atascocita Capt. Neal Wade Smith died last week following a smoke diver training exercise.


A funeral was held Monday for an Atascocita fire captain who died last week following a smoke diver training exercise.

The life of Capt. Neal Wade Smith was remembered at First Assembly of God Church in Humble, Texas, according to KHOU-TV.

Smith was taking off life support on Sept. 17 after collapsing during the exercise in Beaumont, Texas two days earlier.

A preliminary investigation shows that Smith likely died of a heat-related illness and had a body temperature as high as 106 degrees.

His co-workers said he shed dozens of pounds over the course of the last year in preparation for the advanced exercise and that he was always willing to give his all, even in training.

"He always did things to the extreme because Neal was determined to make a better life for his family," Chaplain Skip Straus said.

His fire chief delivered a touching eulogy for the firefighter who rose to the rank of captain after just four years with the department.

"He will be missed and I will miss him," District Chief Donnie Neiman said. "I know of no other words than that. I love you my friend and will miss you."

The 46-year-old is survived by his wife, Penny, and their two young children. He will be buried later this week in his hometown of Wichita, Kan.