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Originally published July 1, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Page modified July 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

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Corrected version

Seattle Fire Department mourns lieutenant who drowned on rafting trip

Joseph Kane, the firefighter who drowned Friday on a rafting trip in Idaho, was a 23-year veteran of the Seattle Fire Department.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Seattle firefighter who drowned during a rafting trip in western Idaho Friday was a 23-year veteran of the department.

Joseph Kane, 50, of Poulsbo, was a lieutenant at Fire Station 36 in West Seattle, according to the Fire Department.

He is survived by his wife, Stacie Kane, and two sons, Mick and Joey, according to an online obituary posted by the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island.

The obituary said Kane had worked as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska before joining the Fire Department in 1991.

Kane drowned Friday afternoon while on a rafting trip in an area of the Lower Salmon River known as The Slide after he and one of his sons were ejected into the water, the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The Sheriff’s Office said raft guides from Epley’s Whitewater Adventure recovered the son and brought him to safety, but after returning for Kane found him unconscious in the water.

Cpl. Jerry Florence of the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office estimated that Kane had been in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.

Kane was taken to the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Kane was involved with the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, where he served as a representative for Station 37.

“He was a great man and a great firefighter,” said Kenny Stuart, Kane’s friend and president of the union. “He was known for having a really great sense of humor. He was also clearly proud of his family. He talked a lot about his two sons.”

“This is a tragedy, not just for the family, but for the Fire Department and for the citizens who are losing him,” Stuart said.

Kane and his son were on the trip as part of a Boy Scouts Venturing Crewouting at the North Idaho High Adventure Base in Riggins, Idaho.

The Boy Scouts issued a statement: “The health and safety of our volunteers and youth members is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this individual and we will support them in any way that we can.”

According to the Idaho Bureau of Land Management, the Slide Rapids where Kane drowned are the most dangerous rapids in the Lower Salmon River during high water.

According to the funeral home’s website, a visitation for Kane will be from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday (July 8), followed by Mass of Christian Burial at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 1310 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island. Private interment will take place at Kane Cemetery on Bainbridge Island.

Erin Heffernan: eheffernan@seattletimes.com or 206-464-3249

Information in this article, originally published July 2, 2014, was corrected July 3, 2014. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Slide Rapids, where Seattle Fire Department Lt. Joe Kane drowned, are the most dangerous rapids in the Lower Salmon River during high tides. The story should have called it high water.



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