Queen Creek fire captain found dead at station

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QUEEN CREEK -- A Queen Creek fire captain died in his sleep at one of the town's fire stations.

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Queen Creek Fire Capt. found dead - A Queen Creek fire captain was found dead Saturday morning.

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Capt. Eric Tinkham, 44, was last seen alive Friday night. When fellow firefighters tried to wake him at 7 a.m. Saturday, they say he was unresponsive.

Tinkham had worked as a firefighter for 24 years and was one of the original firefighters hired by the town.

A makeshift memorial has been set up outside the Queen Creek fire station where he worked.

"Just a great guy, the kind of guy that put his life on the line for others, the kind of guy that's always looking out for other people," said friend and co-worker Jon Spezzacatena. "That's what we do as firefighters. That's our job."

Tinkham leaves behind a wife and three daughters.

Town officials say all Queen Creek firefighters were sent home Saturday and Gilbert and Mesa fire departments were manning the stations.