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Thread: Arizona Firefighter Dies at Station

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    Arizona Firefighter Dies at Station

    Arizona Firefighter Dies at Station

    Firehouse.Com News

    An Arizona firefighter passed away in her sleep while on duty at the Pinetop Fire Department, officials reported.

    According to the department's web site, Valeree Claude, age 33, died unexpectedly in her sleep on June 24th while on duty at Pinetop Fire Station 2, located at 5976 Bucksprings Road.

    Claude began her employment with the Pinetop Fire Department as a reserve firefighter on March 7, 2003 and was hired as a full-time firefighter on July 1, 2003. She was well-liked and respected as one of the department's fitness instructors and a member of the Pinetop Fire Department's Wellness Committee.

    Claude's cause of death was undetermined as of Monday, said Chief Blue Penrod. "She was one of the healthiest people on the department," he said. "She didn't show any sign of a problem."

    Penrod said Claude was discovered Friday at 2:15 a.m. when her partner on the station's rescue truck was unable to wake her for a call. Her partner called back the engine crew, which had just left the station, and paramedics attempted resuscitation.

    Claude's colleagues said they will remember her most for her high spirits.

    "She was always there to lift everybody's spirits," Penrod said. "She was never down -- she was always up, and making sure everybody else was."

    Capt. Rob Watson said Claude was extremely proud to be on the fire department, and worked hard to prove herself as one of only three female firefighters at the department.

    He said firefighters liked to tease her because she was very concerned about her appearance, but "When a call came in, that was all out the window," he said.

    Claude is survived by her husband Travis, her son Chance, 12, daughter Chandler, 10, and other immediate family.

    Funeral arrangements are scheduled for Wednesday, June 29th at 10:00 am at the Show Low LDS Downtown Chapel, located in Show Low, Arizona. There will be a procession beforehand, from 9 to 10 a.m.

    The Pinetop Fire Department is a combination department situated in the White Mountains in northeastern Arizona, approximately 200 miles northeast of Phoenix. The department has a total of about 70 firefighters, including 21 full-time firefighters.

    This was the department's first line of duty death, and it has hit the members hard. "We have our ups and downs," Watson said. "It's going to take some time for everybody to get back to where we can function the same."

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Firefighters pay tribute to one of their own

    By: Jo Baeza, The Independent 07/01/2005

    Valeree Sue Reidhead Claude, 33, was one of the heroes who risk their lives to protect and serve others. She served with pride. She was honored June 29 with a full firefighter funeral, complete with an honor guard and piper.

    The beautiful young wife and mother died in her sleep, without any warning, at Pinetop Fire Department Station No. 2 while she was on duty. She was the first Pinetop firefighter to die in the line of duty, and it came as a shock to her comrades. The word spread rapidly through the international fire community over the worldwide web. Condolences flowed into the Pinetop Fire Department website from nearly every state in the union and as far away as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

    Her natural family, her church family, and her fire department family showed their grief and their respect in a way she would have enjoyed.

    Her coffin was covered with bright yellow flowers topped with her yellow firefighter

  3. #3
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Claude, Valeree

    Age: 33
    Cause of Death: Unknown
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Unknown
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: No

    Incident Date: 06/24/2005
    Duty Type: Other On-Duty
    Incident Time: 02:15
    Activity Type: Standby
    Death Date: 06/24/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Pinetop Fire Department
    1845 S. Pine Lake Rd.
    Pinetop , Arizona 85935
    Chief: Blue Penrod

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Claude died in her sleep while at the station of a cause still to be determined. She was discovered early in the morning when she did not respond to an alarm call.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Valeree Claude Benefit Account at the National Bank of Arizona (, acct # 0643002632.

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