Houston firefighters and city officials are mourning the death of Houston Fire Department cadet Steven Whitfield II, who collapsed during training Thursday, five months after he joined the department.
The cause of the 32-year-old's death is still under investigation, Interim Fire Chief Rodney West told the Houston Chronicle.
The Chron reports that Whitfield collapsed around 11 a.m. while navigating the Survival House, "a 3,400-square-foot, two-story structure [that] helps cadets confront the chaotic challenges that have proven lethal to firefighters around the country."
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The Beaumont native's fellow cadets and medic crew tried to revive Whitfield, who died about two hours later at Memorial Hermann Medical Center.
"This tragic passing of Cadet Whitfield reminds us of the inherent dangers of our profession," Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Alvin White Jr. remarked in a statement Thursday. "We are grateful to our firefighter brothers and sisters, the academy instructors and cadets, and the hospital staff for the valiant attempts to save Cadet Whitfield."
White also stated that the association, "the City of Houston, and the International Association of Fire Fighters are working to assist the Whitfield family and affected firefighters during this difficult time. Please keep the Whitfield family and the men and women of our fire department in your thoughts and prayers."
In an announcement Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said, "Cadet Whitfield signed up to be a public servant for the city of Houston. It is a dangerous job. This city will be forever grateful for him."