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JUST IN: Fairfax County firefighter captain dies from work-related cancer

Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Capt. Kimberly Schoppa (via FCFRD)

Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Capt. Kimberly Schoppa died today (Tuesday) from occupational cancer, Fire Chief John Butler and the department announced.

Schoppa was hired as a firefighter in 2004 for the department and served over 18 years. She was assigned to Fire Station 27 in West Springfield at the time of her death.

“Captain Schoppa was a valued friend and esteemed member of the department,” the FCFRD said. “There is no doubt Captain Schoppa touched many lives throughout her career and will be remembered as a kind, caring and compassionate person. She was an exceptional leader, mentor, and friend. She will be greatly missed.”

Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt said shortly after 9 a.m. that Schoppa died about three hours ago.

There wasn’t a specific cause or causes known regarding her cancer, but it was due to exposure on the job over time, Hildebrandt said, adding that the department has extensive protocols and mitigation techniques to limit exposure.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, lung and other kinds of cancer can affect even young firefighters with only a few years on contaminant exposure.

The department shared its condolences to Schoppa’s family members:

Fire Chief Butler and the men and women of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, extend our deepest condolences to Captain Schoppa’s family – wife Master Technician (ret) Kim Klaren, parents Jan and Karl Schoppa, her brothers Chris and his partner Paul, and Brett (wife Amy and children Riley (fiancé Anya), Abigail, and Maura); Klaren’s mom Shirley, brothers Bobby (wife Andrea and children Bo, Cody, and Tyler), Matt (wife Kay and children Kyle (fiancé Elyse), Kacie, and Cole), and sister Kara (husband Mike) – as well as extended family, friends, co-workers, and anyone whose life she touched.

The department plans to share funeral arrangements once they’re available.