Guided by a procession of local fire and law enforcement vehicles, the body of Spokane County Fire District 9 firefighter Cody Traber was transported about 4 miles through town Tuesday to a funeral home in west Spokane.
Traber, a lieutenant and 18-year firefighter with the district, fell from the Wandermere bridge Thursday while trying to get a better vantage point to spot a reported brush fire in the area of U.S. Highway 395 and Wandermere Road. He died at the scene.
“Cody was the firefighter of firefighters,” District 9 Division Chief Bobby Shindelar said. “He was a great example of public service. … He strived to do well in everything that he did and he would go the extra mile by doing more than what was asked of him.”
Tuesday’s procession started at the Spokane County Medical Examiner building on South Spokane Street. A Spokane County Fire District 4 vehicle carried the body of Traber, 41, through Spokane to Heritage Funeral Home and Crematory. Shindelar said Traber performed his firefighting residency at District 4 before working for District 9.
Shindelar thanked the community for the respect it gave during the procession.
“This loss is being felt by the community as well, and we saw it today,” he said.
Once at the funeral home, firefighter pallbearers carried Traber’s U.S. flag-draped casket into the chapel as firefighters, mostly from District 9, lined the walkway outside the funeral home and saluted.
Shindelar said everybody in District 9 knew Traber, and all fire departments and districts in Spokane County, and even across most of Washington, respected him.
“Our fire district is a very tight family,” he said. “Everybody within the fire district knows each other.”
Firefighters wore a black band, or “shroud,” on their badge out of respect for Traber and his family, who was also in attendance Tuesday. A black line was painted through the “4” in the District 4 vehicle that carried Traber. Shindelar said they will remove the shrouds from their badges after Traber’s memorial .
Shindelar said Traber taught many firefighting classes, including wildland firefighting and technical rescue training. He said Traber took pride in teaching young firefighters.
“He had a passion for the work that he did and his commitment to teaching,” Shindelar said. “He was just a tremendous person.”
Outside the fire station, Traber was a family-oriented man who cared deeply for his wife, Allisyn, and four young children, Shindelar said.
“He was just one of those exceptional people,” Shindelar said. “He had a good sense of humor and everybody really enjoyed being around Cody, and he enjoyed being with people.”
District 9 firefighters were dispatched around 9:45 p.m. Thursday after a passerby called Spokane County Fire Dispatch to report a wildland fire, Shindelar said Monday. District 9 Chief Jack Cates said the call was officially recognized as a “good intent call.”
Unable to spot evidence of a fire near the location, Traber and two other firefighters aboard District 9 Engine 92 moved to the Wandermere bridge to get a better look at the reported fire. Shindelar said Traber alone exited the engine to get a better look. No other details surrounding his fall were released, and no foul play is suspected.
Washington State Patrol, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington Department of Labor and Industries are conducting the investigation into his death.
Shindelar said additional details about Traber’s memorial service will be provided, likely in a few weeks. A date has not been set. He said the service will be held at a very large venue and will include another procession.
To help the Traber family, community members can make donations to Spokane County Fire District 9, Local 2916 Benevolent Association either online via PayPal, at bit.ly/codytraber or by check.
Checks with “Cody Traber” in the memo line can be dropped off at the District 9 station or mailed to Local 2916 Benevolent Association c/o Cody Traber, P.O. Box 18336, Spokane, WA 99228.
This is the only organization and donation site endorsed by the Traber family, according to the fire district.
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