FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KPTV) - The Forest Grove community is mourning the loss of Fire Capt. Rick Ilg, who died this week after a nearly three-year battle with brain cancer.
"Captain Rick Ilg was a friend to all, a mentor for many, as well as a loving husband and father to a wife and daughter that he leaves behind. There is no way to explain in any words the mark that this man left on all of us, and we already miss him dearly," the fire department said in a Facebook post announcing his death.
Ilg joined the Forest Grove Fire Department in 2006 after a long stint working for Metro West Ambulance.
"Rick’s life work in emergency medicine made him one of our region’s most respected and regarded Paramedics. During his decades of service, Rick left an immeasurable mark on the countless paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters who worked with him, and were mentored by his always impressive ability to handle the most stressful incidents with an unthinkable ease. It’s impossible to even begin to consider the true number of lives Rick impacted, both in the patients he cared for, and in those who worked alongside him," the fire department said.
Because of the carcinogens found in smoke and burned debris that firefighters inhale regularly, cancer is considered a line of duty death for firefighters. Though other Forest Grove firefighters have died of cancer, Ilg's death is the first line of duty death in Forest Grove since the adoption of presumptive cancer legislation in Oregon more than 20 years ago.
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