Fire District 9 remembers firefighter who died responding to reports of wildland fire

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — For the first time since the death of a Spokane County firefighter last week, the fire department is speaking out about what happened.

Lieutenant Cody Traber was on a call with six other firefighters when he had a deadly fall from a bridge. Now, there’s an investigation to find out what exactly happened that night.

Just before 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, a call came into the Spokane County dispatch center about a wildland fire near highway 395 and Wandermere Road. Spokane County fire district 9, engine 92 was dispatched carrying seven firefighters including Lt. Traber, but he would not return.

“Cody was extremely active in our training program here at Fire District 9, and many of the other programs that we have,” said Fire Chief for District 9 Jack Cates.

Chief Cates said Lt. Traber was a prominent fixture on the training grounds of Fire District 9 and was always one of the first to step up when asked to help.  He was also heavily involved in the fire academies.

“Touched many lives through his involvement with that recruit academy,” Cates said.

Foul play has been ruled out, but there is an investigation by several local and state agencies into what happened exactly when engine 92 arrived on the scene of what they thought was a wildland fire.

“The engine moved to the Wandermere Bridge to gain a better vantage point in search of the fire. Soon after, Lt.Cody Traber fell from the bridge,” said Division Chief of District 9 Bob Shindelar.

Investigators say there was no fire found at that location Thursday night and the call is being entered as a good intent call with nothing found.

“Based on the information from the reports, from the crews on the truck… is that Lt. Traber was trying to gain a vantage point where he was trying to see a large area, in that Wandermere Valley. And he was looking north and south trying to see what he could see from that high vantage point,” said Cates.

There will be a funeral procession for Lt. Traber Tuesday afternoon. He leaves behind a wife and four young children.

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