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Daniel Smith, Hudson firefighter, dies suddenly

Daniel Smith of Hudson died suddenly Wednesday at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after being rushed there the previous night.

The 46-year-old Smith was a 20-year veteran of the Hudson Fire Department. He was a department officer for the past seven years, serving most recently as a lieutenant.

"He had not been ill. That's the whole shocking part of it," said Hudson Fire Chief Jim Frye when contacted about Smith's death on Thursday.

Don Gorrie, chief investigator for the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office, said on Friday that Smith's death was reported to the office but an autopsy wasn't conducted.

Gorrie said Smith died of natural causes. He said he didn't know the cause of his death, however.

Smith, a 1980 graduate of Hudson High School, worked as a hazardous materials technician for Bay West Inc., headquartered in St. Paul. The company's Web site says it "provides environmental investigation, design, engineering, remediation, waste management, emergency spill response and industrial cleaning" services to industrial and governmental customers.

Frye said Smith also was an occupational health and safety specialist for the fire department. In addition, he managed the department's Web site.

"There's going to be a big gap that he left behind," Frye said of Smith.

Smith is survived by a son, Cody, believed to be in his early teens.

An education fund has been set up for Cody at Wells Fargo Bank. Contributions can be sent to: Cody Smith Education Fund, Schertz Law Office, P.O. Box 133, Hudson, WI 54016.

A tribute to Lt. Smith has been posted on the fire department web site. Fellow firefighters have also assembled a gallery of photos honoring Lt. Smith. Follow the link associated with this story, then click on the "Dan Smith" tab on the upper-right corner of the screen.

Funeral arrangements are pending and are being handled by O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson. The funeral home's Web site says the service likely will be held on Sunday or Monday.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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