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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane firefighter John Knighten loses cancer battle


Spokane firefighter John Knighten lost his three-year battle with cancer Sunday night.

Knighten, a 19-year veteran of the Spokane Fire Department, former Marine, husband to Shawna Knighten and father of three daughters, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010. He died at his home in Mead.

The blood cancer is one of several the state identifies as a disease presumed to be caused by firefighting and inhaled carcinogens. Because of that, his death is considered to have occurred in the line of duty.

Plans are in the works for a line-of-duty funeral with full military honors.

Knighten, 45, was awarded the Purple Heart in June.

He spent most of his career working at Station 4 in Browne’s Addition, but also worked out of Station 2. He served on several special assignments including the Water Rescue Team, Technical Rescue Team and Wildland Firefighting Task Force.

Members of Ladder 4, the last unit to which Knighten was assigned, and Station 13 removed Knighten from his home after he died, and a fire department procession escorted him to Hennessey Funeral Home.

In a release, Fire Chief Bobby Williams said Knighten exemplified courage during his fight against the disease.

“Throughout his battle with cancer, John maintained an incredible attitude while continuously expressing thanks and appreciation to everyone that offered support and prayers,” Williams said. “His actions epitomized bravery and set a shining example for all of us in how to deal with adversity.”

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