Phoenix Fire Foundation

Walter D. Kelson

1932 - 1977
Fire Engineer
Phoenix Fire, Engine 23, A-shift
About Walter D. Kelson

Last Alarm: Saturday March 12, 1977, Lake Pleasant
Age: 44 years old
Served for: 12 years
Cause: Drowned during rescue (LODD I)

Fire Engineer Walter Kelson of Engine 23 swam into a very cold Lake Pleasant to save drowning children and his coworker, Firefighter Chauncey Ray II. The children survived. Walter and Chauncey drowned.

Walter was born October 10, 1932 in Ohio, and as a young man served in the United States Air Force in the Korean War. He was survived by his wife and three sons and was buried at the Greenwood Firefighter’s cemetery by the Bell Tower. His grave is marked with a red cross during the annual Fallen Fire Fighter Memorials each January.

Greenwood Memorial, 2300 W. Van Buren, 85009.
Forest Lawn, Block 174, Lot 1, Space 5.
(SW of the Firefighters’ Bell Tower, 4W-8S)
Historical Marker placed Sep 25th 2010, 435 N. 7th St (W of his High School, old Phoenix Union HS)