Firefighter suffers fatal heart attack after returning from fire
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 12, 2012 3:12AM
Bunting is prepared over the doors at Engine Co. 121 firehouse in Beverly to honor the 18-year veteran firefighter who suffered a heart attack after returning from a house fire on the South Side. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: November 12, 2012 3:38PM
A 61-year-old firefighter known around the firehouse for his “Bub rub” barbecue rub suffered a fatal heart attack after returning from a fire.
Walter Patmon Jr., 61, an 18-year veteran firefighter, was cleaning his equipment after an earlier kitchen fire when he started to experience of shortness of breath about 10:30 p.m. Sunday at his firehouse in the 1700 block of West 95th Street, police and fire officials said.
He was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a heart attack at 11:21 p.m., according to Fire Media Affairs spokesman Will Knight.
“He was someone who put himself out to help you in any way you needed,” said firefighter Dave Beason, as he helped hang black-and-purple bunting at the Beverly firehouse Monday morning. “Whenever you knew you were going to work with him, you knew you were going to have a good day.”
“He always had a smile on his face, and he always wanted to cheer everybody up,” said Lt. Lewis Richardson. “I’ve never seen him down.”
Patmon — known by the nickname “Bubble” — had built up a reputation among firefighters as a man extremely proud of his daughters and as a firehouse cook with a flair for barbecue. Beason guessed some of Patmon’s “Bub rub” spice mix was in the firehouse pantry Monday morning.
“‘When you retire, you need to open up a barbecue joint,’ I was telling him constantly,” Beason said, before pausing and staring in the ground, “and now he won’t retire.”
Irving Brown Sr., a retired fire captain, said he knew Patmon since their years at Calumet High School. Brown said he helped convince Patmon, who had worked in the mailroom at Michael Reese Hospital, to become a firefighter.
“We would get into arguments about cooking,” Brown said. “I would cook it my way, and he would say ‘You don’t know what you’re doing. Cook it this way.’”
Patmon’s is the second death of an on-duty firefighter this month and comes three days after hundreds of firefighters attended the funeral of Capt. Herbie Johnson, a veteran of 33 years with the fire department.
Johnson died Nov. 2 while fighting an extra-alarm fire on the South Side. He was the first on-duty firefighter to die in nearly two years