Wash. FF-EMT dies after suffering medical event while driving
Kalama Firefighter-EMT Alan Basso was found to be in cardiac arrest after his vehicle crashed, shortly after he responded to two medical emergencies
Duty Death: Alan D. Basso - [Kalama, Washington]
End of Service: 11/27/2020
By Laura French
KALAMA, Wash. — A Washington firefighter-EMT died on Friday shortly after responding to two medical emergencies, possibly due to a cardiac event that occurred while he was driving.
Kalama Fire Department (Cowlitz County Fire District #5) Firefighter-EMT Alan "Big Al" Basso's vehicle crashed into several parked cars shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday, approximately four hours after he responded to his last call, fire officials said in a statement. Basso was found to be in cardiac arrest and not breathing after the crash, and an off-duty Portland firefighter immediately began CPR.
Kalama firefighters arrived on the scene shortly afterward and began advanced life support measures. Basso was then transported to the hospital but could not be resuscitated.
Basso, 59, was the volunteer captain of the Kalama Fire Department, as well as an EMT, and was a 36-year fire service veteran. He had previously served as a career firefighter with the City of Longview Fire Department for more than 21 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant, and also served for more than 2 years as a career firefighter with Kalama Fire before serving as a volunteer for 21 years. He also served for five years with the Washington Department of Natural Resources as a seasonal firefighter.
In addition to his work in the fire service, Basso was also a substitute history teacher at the Kalama School District and served as the elected Port of Kalama Commissioner for the last 8-and-a-half years, having been re-elected in November 2019. He is survived by his wife Vicky and his daughter Brittany.
"It is difficult to capture in words the true spirit of such a pure, sincere human being. The honesty, humor and integrity of Alan cannot be replaced within our community or organization," said Kalama Fire Chief Victor Leatzow in a statement.
Kalama Fire Department officials will meet with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Kalama Professional Firefighters Local 4447, Longview Professional Firefighters Local 828 and the Cowlitz Chaplaincy on Monday to make plans for Basso's memorial, officials said.
"Al was a great man with a heart full of compassion for his community, who quietly went about his work never seeking recognition," said Longview Professional Firefighters Local 828 President Justin Noel, who worked with Basso for more than 20 years. "He is a coworker and friend whom all had positive experiences with and will be sorely missed."