A Casper firefighter died Saturday night after an extended battle with pancreatic cancer.
Captain Matt Trott, 46, joined the fire department in 1995. During his 21 years at the department, he worked as an engineer, a child passenger safety technician and a captain. He retired March 6 due to his cancer, called pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma.
“We cannot yet comprehend the void that Matt’s absence will have on us,” a representative of the department wrote in a news release. “He was the ideal ‘Fireman’s Fireman.’ Matt’s infectious positive attitude, brilliant tactical mind on the fireground, his mastery of sarcasm and scathing wit made for the type of firefighter and co-worker that made the days fly by at the fire station.”
Fire spokesman Dane Andersen said Trott’s death is considered a line-of-duty death. Of the 188 firefighters employed by the Casper Fire Department in the last 25 years, 13 have been diagnosed with cancer, department data shows.
Another Casper Fire captain, Jeff Atkinson, died of cancer in 2014. Multiple studies have shown that firefighters are at a higher risk of some cancers and cardiac disease.
Trott’s family will be the first to automatically earn worker’s compensation benefits thanks to a law passed by the 2017 Wyoming Legislature. Previously, firefighters who were diagnosed with cancer or other diseases related to exposure to fire and smoke had to prove their illness was caused through their work before receiving the benefits. Now, firefighters have automatic access if they are diagnosed with a select number of cancers or diseases linked to their line of work.
Andersen said Trott’s family had already been approved to receive those benefits. Trott is survived by his wife, daughter, parents and siblings.
Trott was born in Bakersfield, California, before moving to Wyoming, where he graduated from Glenrock High School and the University of Wyoming, according to his obituary. He enjoyed hiking, riding his mountain bike and cheering on the University of Wyoming Cowboys and the Colorado Rockies.