The Salt Lake County Fire Department and Unified Fire Authority are mourning the loss of Cpt. Matthew Hambleton, who passed away on 12 April, 2023. The news of his passing has come as a shock to his colleagues and the broader firefighting community, as Matt was a highly respected and dedicated firefighter with over two decades of service. His contributions to the Heavy Rescue Program and the Urban Search and Rescue task force teams have been invaluable, and his passing is a significant loss to the department.
Continue reading to discover more about the life of Matt Hambleton, the circumstances surrounding his passing, and the cause of his death.
Who was Matt Hambleton?
Matt Hambleton was an exceptional firefighter who served the Salt Lake County Fire Department / Unified Fire Authority for more than 20 years. As a founding member of UFA’s Heavy Rescue Program, Matt was regarded as the longest-serving member of the program. He began his career as a firefighter in 1996 and was promoted to paramedic two years later. In 2006, Matt was promoted to the rank of Captain, where he led his team with professionalism, passion, and expertise. He was widely respected and admired by his colleagues for his exceptional leadership skills.
Matt was an expert in various rescue operations, including Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, Structure Collapse, Heavy Extrication, and Rapid Intervention Teams. He had a passion for passing his knowledge and skills to others, and he was always enthusiastic about helping his colleagues learn new techniques. Matt’s contributions were recognized with numerous awards and commendations throughout his career, including his deployment to the World Trade Center after 9/11 and his work during Hurricane Harvey in 2018. In 2021, Matt received a commendation for his work in rescuing people from a canyon vehicle rollover.
Matt was a highly skilled member of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue task force teams, having joined UT-TF1 in 2001. Over the years, he deployed on numerous missions with UT-TF1 and served as a mentor, delivering thousands of hours of instruction and leadership influence in various rescue and search disciplines.
Throughout his tenure, Matt held several key positions, including Rescue Specialist, Rescue Squad Officer, Tech Search Specialist, Rescue Team Manager, Search Team Manager, Water Rescue Technician, and Rescue Boat Operator. He participated in several US&R deployments, including the World Trade Center after 9/11, the Logan Canal Break (mudslide search), Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Laura, and the Oregon Wildfires, helping rescue and aid hundreds of people. Matt was loved and respected by his colleagues and was regarded as a cherished mentor, friend, and leader.
How did Matt Hambleton die? What was his Cause of death?
The Fire Department announced the tragic news of Cpt. Matthew Hambleton’s passing on its Facebook page on April 13, 2023. Although details surrounding the cause of his death have not been disclosed, his passing has left a profound impact on those who knew him. Matt was an exceptional individual who possessed a diverse range of qualities, each of which he exhibited in a unique way. His kindness, optimism, and infectious personality made people feel better in his presence. Matt was incredibly talented, and his generosity and ability to empathize with others played a significant role in his success. He had an unwaveringly positive outlook on life and took immense pleasure in improving the lives of those around him.
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Tributes to Matt Hambleton
It is with deepest regret and sorrow that we announce that on April 12, 2023, we lost a beloved and respected member of our fire family, Captain Matthew Hambleton. Above all else, Matt dearly loved his wife and two children, whom he leaves behind. pic.twitter.com/qX9ONcwZKv— Unified Fire (@FireAuthority) April 15, 2023
Layton City Fire Wrote,
We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Captain Matthew Hambleton,. Losing a member of our firefighting community is a great loss, and our heart goes out to you and your families during this difficult time.
Please accept our sincere condolences, and know that our thoughts are with you and your entire community as you come to terms with this tragic loss. Captain Matthew Hambleton’s dedication and bravery as a firefighter will never be forgotten, and his sacrifice in service to his community is deeply appreciated.
As you grieve the loss of your colleague, please remember that you are not alone. The entire firefighting community stands with you, and we are here to offer any support or assistance that you may need.
Once again, please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss, and please know that we are here to support you in any way that we can. Your colleague’s legacy will live on through the countless lives he has touched and the impact he made in the firefighting community. May he rest in peace.
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