FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2018


Memorial services will honor 2 Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2017 and another killed 169 years ago

Ceremonies on Missouri Fire Service Memorial Day also honor all state firefighters who passed away last year

Two Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty last year, along with another killed in a fire in 1849, will be honored during services Saturday and Sunday at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri in Kingdom City.

On Saturday, May 19, at 9 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held for all Missouri firefighters who have died while serving their communities.

On Sunday, May 20, at 10:30 a.m., the names of three Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty will be added to the monument wall commemorating Missouri firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while bravely serving their fellow Missourians. Other Missouri firefighters who passed away during 2017 will also be remembered during the ceremonies. 

Gov. Eric Greitens has proclaimed May 20 as Fire Service Memorial Day in Missouri.

“The fire service is a calling for brave, selfless men and women who are willing to risk their lives each time the alarm bell sounds in order to protect their fellow Missourians,” Gov. Eric Greitens said. “We are forever indebted to the heroes who made the supreme sacrifice. We will never forget them, and will continue to stand with and support their loved ones left behind.” 

“Missouri’s fire service is truly a family of dedicated individuals who all share a commitment to strengthening our communities through service to others,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “I am moved each year that we come together to share stories of bravery, devotion to serving others and of the lives these fallen heroes lived and the people they touched while they were with us.”       

The firefighters whose names will be added to the Fire Fighters Line of Duty Memorial Wall are:

Firefighter Jeffery Sanders, age 55, Mayview Fire Protection District,  June 19, 2017

Firefighter Sanders, a 32-year member of the Mayview Fire Protection District, had responded to a call for an arcing power line threatening to cause a fire, when a vehicle crashed into a fire truck on the scene, causing his death.

Captain John Kemper, age 59, St. Louis Fire Department, July 12, 2017

Captain Kemper, a 25-year veteran of the St. Louis Fire Department, died one week after sustaining injuries fighting a structure fire on the morning of July 5.

Fireman Wells Colton, age 37, St. Louis Volunteer Fire Department, June 26, 1849

Fireman Colton was fatally injured in an explosion fighting St. Louis’ most disastrous fire, known as the Great St. Louis Fire, which and started May 17, 1849 on the steamboat White Cloud and quickly spread to more than 20 other steamers along the St. Louis levee, and then destroyed several blocks of downtown buildings. A recent review of historical records connected Fireman Colton’s death to the fire.  

Both events will take place at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri, which is located one block northwest of the I-70 & U.S. Highway 54 intersection (I-70 Exit 148) in Kingdom City, Mo. In case of inclement weather, events will be moved to Auxvasse Elementary School, 650 E. Harrison St., Auxvasse, MO 65231.

 

Saturday, May 19

WHAT:           Candlelight vigil honoring Missouri firefighters who died serving Missouri’s fire service

WHO:             Families and friends of those who died

Firefighters from across Missouri

WHERE:         Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri, one block northwest of the I-70 & U.S. Highway 54 intersection, Kingdom City

WHEN:           9 p.m. Saturday, May 19


Sunday, May 20

WHAT:           Memorial Service honoring Missouri firefighters who died serving Missouri’s fire service

WHO:             State Fire Marshal Tim Bean

                        Leaders of the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri

                        Families and friends of those who have died

                        Other firefighters from across Missouri

WHERE:         Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri, one block northwest of the I-70 & U.S. Highway 54 intersection, Kingdom City

WHEN:          10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 20



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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov