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Thursday, December 15, 2011

In Honor of Firefighters Everywhere

Over twelve thousand firefighters from all over the United States and Canada have gathered at this moment in Worcester, Massachusetts for the solemn funeral of a LODD. Worcester Firefighter Jon Davies entered a building in search of possible victims, and lost his life as portions of the building collapsed. It is a danger that every firefighter faces every day.

Rather than dwelling on whether or not this fire was sparked by arson, today is the day to mourn the Loss On Duty Death of this man, and to celebrate memories of his life.

Several thousand firefighters returned to Massachusetts about a week later to attend another LODD in Peabody, Massachusetts. Fire fighter Jim Rice lost his life in a house fire, in which he inhaled deadly gases and succumbed to a heart attack.

In Methuen, Massachusetts, another firefighter, Robert George died of a heart attack between shifts, and the same happened to Randy Rideout in Medford, Massachusetts. In nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a firefighter lost her four-year battle with cancer, after witnessing a tribute of AMR pink ambulances during her illness, a testimony to the link between ambulance services and fire fighting. And a few months earlier, on a clear summer day, a Salisbury, Massachusetts firefighter lost his life while using his mechanic's skills to repair a department vehicle which fell onto him while on duty in the yard of the fire station. While media may wrangle over which of these deaths were duty related, the connection between physical exertion, racing adrenalin, noxious lethal gases of burning plastics and stressful settings cannot be denied as contributing to the deaths of fire fighters. Massachusetts in particular has paid a heavy price in fire fighter deaths this fall.

I have firefighters in my family of whom I am very proud, and will dedicate today's post to them as well as to those families who have lost their heroes. This is a repeat of a column I'd posted a few years ago on my website, It is on the page called Sentimental Letters, and I invite you to read it there. Here is a link to The Bravest.


  1. Yes, we should honor them. Thanks for this reminder. Public service is an honor, and we should remind politicians of who they are supposed to be. Good post Terry.

  2. Thank you Terry for all your hard work and your persistence, care and concern from you and your family. It has not gone unnoticed, and it is greatly appreciated.


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