Updated: 06-23-2004 01:51:15 PM

Arizona Firefighter Collapses While Assisting With Forest Treatment Program

Firehouse.Com News

Gary Archibeque, 39, a firefighter with Show Low Fire Department, was assisting on their Forest Treatment Program when he collapsed on Saturday, June 19, according to Jack Babb, Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal.

He had worked with the Show Low Fire Department for two and a half years. Show Low is a combination of career and reserve members. Archibeque was a reserve member. He was also a full-time transportation manager at Foxworth-Galbraitch.

"Gary was a part of a crew working on a Forest Treatment program set up by the Show Low Fire Department when he suffered from what appears to be a heart attack. He was treated at the scene and transported to the Navapache Regional Medical Center," said Babb. He had no previous history of heart problems.

"The purpose of the Forest Treatment Program is a program which encourages homeowners to thin out properties to prevent the spreading of wildfires," said Babb.

"He was the senior member of the chipping crew. He was helping to chip up the vegetation so that it could be easily removed. He was a part of a three-man crew. It is a special program that Show Low has. He had signed up to participate and it was his turn to do it. This is not new for him, he has participated before," said Babb.

Show Low is a town of about 10,000 with several other communities surrounding it. It is considered the hub of the White Mountains, according to Babb.

Archibeque is survived by his wife and two children.

A visitation and rosary service for Archibeque will be Thursday, 7 p.m. at St. Rita's Catholic Church in Show Low.

The funeral will be held Friday, 2 p.m. at St. Rita's Catholic Church. There will a luncheon at the Show Low Fire Department following. A memorial service has yet to be announced.

Donations for the Gary Archibeque Memorial fund may be sent to: Bank of America, Acct. 004656050316. Bank of America is located at 1301 E. Deuce of Clubs, Show Low, AZ 85901