OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. - Rob Koczewski, 67, died of a heart attack while hosing down hot spots near his Okanogan County home, according to law enforcement officials.
Koczewski is the first person whose death is connected to the Carlton Complex of fires.
"He was a good friend of mine, and a great man,” said Dave Rodriguez, with the Okanogan County Sheriff Dept., who considered Koczewski one of his closest friends.
Koczewski did have a history of heart issues, said Rodriguez, who believes the combination of exertion, heat and lack of sleep contributed to the heart attack.
"He spent his life serving the nation, and our community, and it's real sad that this happened to him,” said Rodriguez.
Koczewski was a state trooper, and before that a Sgt. Major in the Marine Corps. He was out working on the spot fire with his wife when the heart attack happened.