The fallen Firefighters memorial was held outside Calgary city hall Tuesday afternoon paying tribute to the 53 fallen members of the Calgary Fire Department. This annual event recognizes the fallen members of the Calgary Fire Department who died in the line of duty or as the result of an illness related to their service.
Alongside CFD officials and the families of the fallen firefighters Members of Calgary city council attended the ceremony in the Police Officers and Firefighters Tribute Plaza. Despite the rain the ceremony was well attended and the service included the ringing of a bell to honour the sacrifice of each fallen CFD firefighter. As well as the ceremony at the plaza all the flags were lowered to half-mast at fire stations around Calgary on Tuesday from sunrise to the onset sunset.
This year, six people were added to the list, their names read one by one at the memorial at the Police Officers and Firefighters Tribute Plaza, with families of the fallen in attendance along with current fire fighters.
“For any firefighter one of the toughest things is losing someone in the line of duty,” said Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth. “Today is about making sure we honour our commitment never to forget the sacrifies of these people, the sacrifice to our organization as well as of course to the community that we serve.”
“We have to remember that public service is a tough job and sometimes it can be a dangerous job and for the women and men that go into firefighting not only can you lose your life in the line of duty but you can also lose your life years later because of workplace acquired cancer,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“There’s just a lot of cancers and presumptive cancers that are going on that affect our members and our returned members,” said Mike Henson, President of the Calgary Firefighters Association. “Sometimes those members succumb to those diseases.”
Of the 53 firefighters memorialized, 44 lost their lives due to illnesses since 1985.