El Cerrito City Hall and the fire stations in El Cerrito and Kensington are flying flags at half staff this week in memory of William "Wilie" West, a firefighter from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
He died Monday, surrounded by colleagues and family, according to news reports and the fire district.
The city of El Cerrito Web site says he died "due to a work related illness," and the Web site for the firefigher union, United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, quotes Local 1230 President Vince Wells saying he "lost his life to the silent but deadly enemy of occupational cancer."
The announcement from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District does not mention the cause of death. It says:
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District regretfully reports that Engineer William West, died at home peacefully, on Monday morning, surrounded by his fellow firefighters and family. Willie is survived by Jenniffer Piper, Carmen Piper, His Father Royal West, Sister Sandra Aguirre, Sister Bonnie Showwalter, and his Brother Robert West.
Willie began his career with Lockheed Missiles and Space as Firefighter in 1989 and he also worked as Emergency Medical Technician for American Medical Response. Willie moved into the Far East County in late 2001. He started with the Oakley Fire Protection District in January 2002 as a Paid-On-Call Firefighter
Willie was hired full-time by ECCFPD in November 2002 as a Firefighter. He was promoted to Fire Engineer in June 2006.
Willie was known for his professionalism, kindness, and sincere gentle spirit.
Funeral arrangements are pending and In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the William West fund.
The announcement can be found under the "What's New" tab on the fire district's homepage.