Following the tragic news of Arthur Araguz’s passing on July 7, Wharton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Anthony Abbott shared memories with The County Gin and reflected on the life of the veteran firefighter.
Chief Abott said,
“He died unexpectedly. We found out on July 7 and we went to the call. We heard it was his address. We heard a call on the radio from EMS at his residence. A couple of our guys went over there to check with EMS and they were transporting him to the hospital. Arthur was having some difficultly breathing and he went into cardiac arrest. It went downhill from that; he never recovered.
“Arthur had been quarantined for approximately two weeks. It caught everybody off guard. Our department took a big blow because he was a very essential person and his loss has hit everybody very close to heart and personally because he was a good friend to everybody and because COVID-19 is just surreal to everybody. This is real. We just lost one of our good fireman and our good friend and he’s left a void here with us because we depended on him a lot, too.
“I’ve known Arthur for 23 years. He was a good friend of mine. I met him when I joined the fire department. Funny guy, wanted to question me about everything. When I became the chief, he really helped me out a lot, he looked up to me, respected me, he was like a go-between — he’d go to all the conventions and meetings with me.
“He was the veteran of our group, whenever I needed to know something, he’d say, ‘Oh yeah, we used to do this or that,’ so he was my go-to guy that I’d talk to all the time because he’d been in the department the longest. He was already a veteran when I started here. He was the one I could depend on and get information from.
“Arthur was one of our veteran firemen, with more than 29 years of service. He was the president of the Wharton Volunteer Fire Department; he was one of the veterans of our department. He was well-liked by everybody. He was our dedicated chauffeur. Anytime we had a call, he would be one of our drivers. He was a great guy.
“He was a mentor to all our younger guys. He taught them how to drive and how to operate the firetrucks — an all-around good guy and a friend to everybody here. He just left a big void. We were told the unexpected. He was a truck guy. He always took care of our trucks. If he planned his own funeral here, he’d want every truck in the fire service in his funeral.
“Arthur was a funny guy. We always picked on him and had a good time. He was just an outstanding, funny guy. He was our elder in here and we’d always look up to him. He grew up in Wharton, so everybody knew him. He was a local, hometown person.”