Tacoma Firefighter Albert A. Nejmeh, a 12-year veteran with the department, died in the line of duty on May 14. The technical rescue team member had apparently suffered a heart attack while working at the scene of an emergency medical incident.
While helping at that incident, Nejmeh, 59, prompted an emergency call himself when he collapsed. Fellow firefighters did as they do every day. They jumped into action, but this time they were called to aid a brother firefighter. They provided life support before rushing him to St. Joseph Medical Center, but Nejmeh died around noon.
“Al was a well-loved and well-regarded Tacoma Firefighter,” said Fire Chief Jim Duggan. “As a member of our technical rescue team, he continued to hone his craft and teach it to others. He lived a genuine and deliberate life. We will miss him.”
The Fire Department statement about the passing came with a note of thanks from the firefighters to the physicians, nurses and staff at the St. Joseph’s emergency department and catheter lab for their efforts to save one of their own.
Nejmeh, who was based at the department’s Station 8 on South Alaska Street, is now the 14th Tacoma firefighter to die in the line of duty. A generation had passed since the last on-duty death at the department. The last death was 25 years ago. Flags have been lowered to half-staff in mourning for Nejmeh’s death.
Memorial services are being planned.