West Memphis Fire recruit dies during training exercise

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Facebook

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - The flags outside the West Memphis Fire station were lowered to half staff upon word of a new recruit's sudden death Wednesday.

David Eason, 38, died late Wednesday afternoon while out of town conducting recruit exercises.

"He was doing what he loved when he ... went," said Chief Wayne Gately.  "I went and told his wife personally.  Not fun, hard to do."

According to Gately, Eason collapsed late Wednesday afternoon during a training exercise at what is known as "rookie school" in Camden, Arkansas.

"David was talking, doing fine, and all of the sudden he wasn't talking anymore," said Gately.

Eason was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  He was in the middle of 10 weeks of training in Camden, Arkansas after joining the department in late December.

"He had heart, drive," said Gately.  "Work ethic's great."

Eason's death is considered to be in the line of duty and is the first such loss for the West Memphis Fire Department in its 80-year history.

"First ever for our department," said Gately.  "First ever for the Arkansas Fire Academy."

Eason reportedly suffered a heart attack.  A medical examiner in Little Rock will determine the exact cause of death.

Eason leaves behind a wife and two young children.

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