Tulsa area firefighters are honored with a special service
Sunday, October 9th 2005, 5:07 PM CDT
Once a year, the Tulsa firefighter family gets together to remember those they've lost
and to honor their commitment, their compassion, and their courage.
Tulsa Fire officer Dick Cagle: "they've experienced the best and the worst of situations and their driven to provide the best."
15 area fire fighters died last year. James Fugate of Collinsville and Don Conner of the Brookin Fire Department died in the line of duty. The rest are retired fire fighters who passed away after a lifetime of service. With every toll of the bell another story.
Henry Collier, one of the first black Tulsa fire fighters.
H. Leroy Fortney was another and his family says Fortney at 93 was the oldest living retired firefighter. He died in January.
Leroy's nephew Dallas Fortney: "My uncle was a character A-number-one character so thats what he'll be remembered for but he was always there for everybody."
The bell rang out five times to symbolize the firefighter's last run. And though their bodies are laid to rest, their families say the memory of their bravery and service will continue.
Sunday's firefighter memorial kicks off National Fire Prevention Week. This year, the focus is on candles, which are used in more than half of American homes. The National Fire Protection Association reports that candles started 18,000 fires in 2002.