PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County Fire District 3 firefighter was found dead in his bunk in Sequim on Thursday morning.
Captain Charles “Chad” Cate died in the line of duty, reported the district in a press release.
He was 46 years old and a 25-year veteran of the department.
The cause of death was not known Thursday.
Cate was last seen after a response to a fire alarm activation at a commercial building at about 2.25 a.m. when he returned to the station at 323 N. Fifth Ave. Crews went to bed following the early morning call. Later, after apparently heading back out to the site of an earlier house fire in the Dungeness neighborhood, he texted a fellow captain and the duty chief at around 4 a.m. to say that all was well at the scene.
He was discovered deceased in his bunk by members of his crew when they attempted to wake him this morning at about 7 a.m.
As is the case with all employment-related deaths and injuries, the state Department of Labor and Industries personnel are investigating the circumstances of the death, according to the release. Today, members of his crew will escort his body to and from Thurston County for an autopsy.
Cate was raised in the area and graduated from Sequim High School where he has continued to be involved as the wrestling coach.
He was hired by the district in 1997 as a firefighter/paramedic and promoted to the rank of captain in 2020.
Cate leaves behind his wife, a 2-year-old son and two adult children.
Chief Ben Andrews asks everyone to keep Captain Cate’s family in their thoughts and prayers.
A full fire service memorial is tentatively planned for Jan. 21 in Sequim.