The Last Call

Lt Basso Remembrance Gallery

Alan Dean Basso
DOB 10/23/1961… Last Alarm 11/27/2020 -1355 hrs.

On the morning of Friday, November 27, 2020, Kalama Fire volunteer Firefighter/EMT Alan Basso responded to two medical emergency calls, the last one dispatched at 0848 hrs. Approximately 4 hours later, at 1355 hrs., Alan was driving in the downtown area of Kalama when his vehicle collided with several parked vehicles. He was unconscious and not breathing, suffering a cardiac arrest.

Citizen CPR was immediately initiated by off-duty Portland Firefighter TJ Lehnertz and 911 was summonsed. Kalama Fire resources arrived on-scene in 1-minute and 3-seconds, started advance life support measures and transported Alan to Peace Health St. Johns Hospital in Longview.

Devastatingly, resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. He was 59 at the time of his passing.

Alan’s passing is considered a Line of Duty Death in accordance with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation criteria, which includes deaths directly resulting from a cardiovascular event that occurs immediately after, or within 24 hours of, returning from an emergency response.

A Career of Service

Alan, or ‘Big Al’ to his friends and colleagues, served 36 years in the fire service with dedication. His posts include:

  • Seasonal Firefighter, Washington Department of Natural Resources (5 years)
  • Firefighter, Washington State University (1 year)
  • Firefighter, Kalama Fire (2 years, ’95-‘98)
  • Volunteer Firefighter/ Captain, Kalama Fire (21 years, ‘89-‘10 & 2020)
  • Firefighter/ Lieutenant, City of Longview Fire Department (21 years, ’98- Retired 2020)

Committed to the Community

Alan graduated from Kalama High School in 1980. He attended both Lower Columbia College and Central Washington University before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Washington State University. His post-graduate education included earing his Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Protection through Portland Community College and EMT, EMT IVT, EMT Paramedic certifications through Washington State Department of Health.

Alan was overwhelmingly committed to his community. Aside from his fire career, Alan was a substitute History teacher at his alma mater Kalama School District and a local elected official. For nearly nine years, Alan represented his community as a Commissioner of the Port of Kalama. He was re-elected to the position in November 2019.

He leaves behind his wife Vicky L. Basso and his adult daughter Brittany L. Basso both from Kalama.

Fondly Remembered by Colleagues

“It is difficult to capture in words the true spirit of such a pure, sincere human being. The honesty, humor and integrity of Alan cannot be replaced within our community or organization. Al and I had much in common… Go Cougs.” 
– Kalama Fire Chief Victor “Vic” Leatzow

 “Al had one of those unique qualities of being kind to all and being well liked, and that says a lot.”
– Longview Fire Chief Jim Kambeitz

“You could always count on Al. He was always in good spirits, he made long days feel short, he never got excited, and his radio voice was commanding and memorable. You could always count on Al… no questions asked.”
– Longview Fire Battalion Chief Troy Buzalsky

“Al was a great man with a heart of full of compassion for his community, who quietly went about his work never seeking recognition. He is a coworker and friend whom all had positive experiences with and will be sorely missed.”
– Longview Union Firefighters Local 828 President Justin Noel, worked with Al for over 20 years

Honoring Alan

A procession and remembrance ceremony will take place on December 11th and a family service with full honors is planned for mid-February.

In Alan’s honor, a wreath was placed at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial on November 30th.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a continuation of “Big Al’s” charitable work within the communities of Kalama and Longview. Donations may be made to:

Kalama Volunteer Firefighters Association
PO Box 293
Kalama, WA 98625

Longview Firefighters House Fund
Attn: Al Basso Memorial
536 Oregon Way
Longview, WA 98632