There were 58 names read to the toll of bell chimes on Tuesday afternoon as members of the Calgary Fire Department, city officials and families of fallen firefighters gathered in front of city hall to remember those lost.
During the annual service, four new names were added Tuesday to a memorial honouring Calgary’s firefighters who have died in the line of duty or as a result of it.
They are Harry W. Skakum, John C. Doherty, Roger K. Thompson, and Donald G. Taylor, all who died due to occupational cancers.
“Each one is more than a name on a wall,” said Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth.
“They were people who loved and were loved, with nicknames and birthdays, who honourably served their fellow citizens and dedicated their careers to helping others.”
In the city’s history, Calgary has lost 58 firefighters in the line of duty. Nine have been during active firefighting and 49 due to illnesses related to firefighting.
Paying tribute to the firefighters
To honour our city’s fallen firefighters, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, members of City Council, the Calgary Fire Fighters Association (Local 255) and citizens joined the Calgary Fire Department and families of the fallen in remembering the Calgary firefighters who have given their lives in service to their community.
“We’ve been privileged to see many heroes this year and it is with honour that we remember those who are no longer with us,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
“These firefighters’ bravery and service will live on in hearts of their families, colleagues and city.”
The Calgary Fire Department has made many changes to the culture around health and safety, and continues to modify its practices, all of which support making today’s firefighters safer from risk and occupational disease.
“We will honour those we have lost by continually exhausting all avenues to keep our members safer – in the equipment we provide, in the tactics that we employ, in the health monitoring we do, in the rigorous training we require,” said Dongworth.
In recognition of the memorial service, fire stations across The City of Calgary have lowered their flags to half-mast from sunrise to sunset.