A former Whatcom County firefighter who died of cancer this week is being listed as a line-of-duty fatality under state law that classifies certain kinds of cancer as job-related.
Firefighter John Swobody died Monday night after a years-long battle with lung cancer, said Chief William Pernett of North Whatcom Fire and Rescue.
"He was definitely a great guy. It was a tough loss for us," Pernett said Thursday. Swobody, 54, died at his Marysville home, surrounded by friends and family.
Following fire service tradition, a procession of fire apparatus escorted his body to a Bellingham mortuary.
Swobody's death is the first line-of-duty death for North Whatcom Fire and the second line of duty death of a firefighter this year in Whatcom County.
Robert Spinner, 50, interim chief of the Lynden Fire Department, suffered a fatal heart attack while exercising on duty in July 2017.