UPDATED: 11/12/2012 11:42 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago firefighter suffered a heart attack and died late Sunday after he returned to quarters after helping to put out a small fire in the South Side Beverly neighborhood.
Walter Patmon, Jr., 61, – an 18-year veteran – was responding to a small cooking fire last night in the 1500 block of West 99th Street.
Afterwards, he returned to the firehouse and started complaining of shortness of breath, while cleaning equipment.
He was taken to Little Company Of Mary Hospital where he went into cardiac arrest and died just before 11:30 p.m.
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Patmon took up the firefighting trade at the age of 43 and was a father figure at his firehouse.
“He always wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child,” Patmon’s widow, Diane, told reporters.
“Walter was very easy-going,” said fellow firefighter Dave Beason. “He was a great guy to know and you always wanted to be around him. When you knew you were working with him, you knew you were going to have a good day.”
Early this morning, his colleagues honored him with a procession leaving the hospital.
This is a particularly painful blow to the fire department, after they laid to rest another friend and colleague just last week, and another firefighter who died after a long battle with cancer.
Capt. Herbie Johnson, a 32 year veteran of the department, died a week and a half ago.
The 54-year-old was killed while battling a fire that broke out in the attic of a home in the Gage Park neighborhood.
And Chicago Firefighter Michael Boyd of Truck 28 has also died. He’d been on extended medical leave, waging a fight against cancer.
Flags were lowered outside the firehouse at 1724 W. 95th Street on Monday morning.
Patmon was assigned to Truck 40, Engine1 121. He is survived by his wife and three adult daughters.