PEORIA, Ariz. — Members of Peoria Fire and Medical along with friends and family paid their respects Tuesday to a fallen firefighter who was instrumental in the formation of Peoria’s Fire Department.
Capt. Dave Stutzman died after battling occupational cancer, according to Peoria Fire and Medical. His service gave long-time coworkers and members of the community a chance to say goodbye.
Stutzman joined the fire department in 1980 as only the second full-time member.
Stutzman played a key role in helping Peoria Fire and Medical join the International Association of Firefighters.
Those who worked with him describe him as a great man.
“He was just very likable, had a smile, pleasant, never got excited and was just an easy captain to work for," Capt. Mark Barbee with City of Peoria Fire and Medical said.
Stutzman lived in Prescott with his wife and two boys where he ran a tomato farm when he wasn’t fighting fires.
Shortly before his retirement in 2015, he was diagnosed with cancer.
Over the past few years fire departments across the country- including Peoria Fire and Medical- have put in place cleaning procedures after a fire to help reduce the rate of occupational cancer among firefighters.
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