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Retired Kent firefighter Ernie Rideout dies from cancer

Ernie Rideout, a retired Kent firefighter, died Wednesday from cancer. - COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Fire Department
Ernie Rideout, a retired Kent firefighter, died Wednesday from cancer.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Fire Department

Retired Kent firefighter Ernie Rideout died Wednesday, June 6 from cancer. He was 57.

Rideout died surrounded by family, friends and fellow firefighters. He died from complications related to his multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow and white blood cells.

Survivors include his wife, Pam, and his three sons, DJ, Richard, and Michael.

“Firefighter Ernie Rideout was the type of individual that when you met him, you became his friend immediately," said Kent Fire Chief Jim Schnedier. "He loved his family first, his job second and always tried to help others in need. Firefighter Rideout was the type of individual that would say, 'don’t worry about me, just do a random act of kindness for a stranger.' That statement defines firefighter Ernie Rideout.”

Because Rideout's cancer was determined to have been contracted due to his profession as a firefighter, his death is considered to be a line of duty death, according to a Kent Fire Department media release.

Rideout is the first line of duty death in Washington State in 2012. He will be honored at the 2013 Washington State Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service with other firefighters who gave their lives for the communities they proudly serve.

A funeral service is currently being planned by Rideout's family and the Kent Fire Department. More information on the service will be published as it becomes available.

Rideout joined the Kent Fire Department in 1978 as a paid, full-time firefighter. He spent the next 32 years serving the residents and businesses of Kent, Covington and King County Fire District No. 37 as a firefighter, firefighter-engineer and as a deputy fire marshal. Prior to Kent, he served for more than eight years as a volunteer firefighter for what was at the time the Pierce County Fire District No. 1 (Sumner).

After responding to 911 emergencies for 10 years in Kent, Rideout transferred from the suppression division to the fire prevention division. He served in that capacity, enforcing fire codes and working with local businesses, for six years before moving back to “shift work” and once again riding on fire engines and aid cars responding to emergency calls.

In 1999, Rideout became a fire department plans checker responsible for approving the fire safety systems of new commercial construction and remodels. He also served for a time as one of the department’s public information officers, working with the media and residents at emergency incidents.

Rideout retired from the Kent Fire Department in July 2010.

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