CA Firefighter Dies During Rescue Training Exercise

Feb. 23, 2023
Santa Cruz County Recruit Daniel Lamothe, 38, is the county's first volunteer line-of-duty death, officials said.

PK Hattis

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.


Feb. 21—BEN LOMOND — A volunteer recruit with the Santa Cruz County Fire Department died Sunday during a weekend training exercise, county officials said Tuesday.

According to a county release, Daniel Lamothe, 38, of Santa Cruz, became "medically distressed" during a joint firefighter academy training session at the Ben Lomond Training Center. He was given immediate medical assistance from personnel at the scene of the training but revival efforts were unsuccessful.

"We mourn the passing of one of our brethren," County Fire Chief Nate Armstrong said in the release. "Daniel wanted to be a firefighter so that he could give back to the community where he was raised and in which he lived. His commitment to public service serves as a model for us all. We grieve along with his friends and family for this sudden and tragic loss."

Armstrong told the Sentinel that Lamothe was participating in a rescue training exercise considered "moderately strenuous" at the time of his collapse. As of Tuesday, autopsy efforts were underway to confirm the cause of death.

Santa Cruz County contracts with Cal Fire to provide fire prevention and emergency medical services for unincorporated regions of the county. Armstrong, the fire chief for Cal Fire's San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, also holds the title of Santa Cruz County fire chief.

County Fire includes five volunteer fire companies that provide fire protection and emergency response services for the region. According to Armstrong, the county currently has 68 active volunteer firefighters and it has never had a volunteer fatality during a training exercise or while responding to an emergency.


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