Fallen Firefighter Remembered as Hero, Cowboy and Man of Honor

2 years 4 months 3 weeks ago February 27, 2014 Feb 27, 2014 Thursday, February 27 2014 Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:46:00 AM CST in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU Interactive Director

COLUMBIA - (Watch video of the full procession and memorial service.) A black cowboy hat sat atop a well-worn firefighter's jacket flanked by two scuffed helmets at the front of The Crossing church Thursday. The silent tribute spoke volumes about the life of Lt. Bruce Britt, who died in an apartment collapse Feb. 22.

"We mourn for the family of firefighters who have lost a brother," said Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid. "Lt. Bruce Britt is a hero we will never forget."

Britt's memorial service began with bagpipes playing as firefighters holding axes filed down the aisles to stand before a stage filled with flowers. A photo of Britt in uniform filled monitors above. Church cameras showed one first responder, bent forward with clasped hands, mouthing a whispered prayer.

The morning started with a solemn procession through the streets of Columbia. A long line of firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles rolled with lights flashing and flags waving along a route that stretched nearly six miles.

A "wall of blue" greeted service goers as firefighters in full dress uniform lined the walkway. A giant U.S. flag was draped between two firetrucks nearby.

Columbia Fire Chief Charles Witt said Britt would be "extremely frustrated" by the "hoopla going on" in his honor.

The family's obituary noted his "rough exterior."

"Bruce was a cowboy at heart, wearing boots and hat before he could walk. He enjoyed riding horses, working at the Callaway Sale Barn and raising his daughter Stormy to be a true cowgirl."

Bill Markgraf, a former chief, remembered his first meeting with Britt many years ago.

"He had a cowboy hat, cowboy vest, he had cowboy boots he even had a cowboy belt buckle. See you couldn't help but think, 'what's this cowboy want?' And he said 'chief, I want to become a part of the Columbia Fire Department.'"

Markgraf said he had no idea at that time the impact Britt would have over the years.

Britt died working on the scene of a structural collapse at University Village Apartments. An eyewitness reported Britt was walking on a partially collapsed, second story balcony when it fell in on him.

His obituary reads: "Bruce was a good man with a kind heart who would help anyone in need and he stood for the truth. He had an incredible, gentle spirit behind the rough exterior and was a fierce defender of family and friends. All kids should be lucky enough to grow up with such a man in their life, and any adult would be blessed to have such a brother or friend."

The last alarm for Britt sounded at 11:19 a.m., with the ringing of a bell.

Below is full video of the procession and memorial service as it aired on KOMU 8 News.

 

More News

Grid
List
POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials blame heat exposure in last weekend's death of a 23-year-old landscaper in... More >>
9 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:43:04 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Rep. Bill Lant has been hospitalized after a car crash. A Missouri State Highway... More >>
9 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:17:16 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - KOMU 8's Target 8 Investigative team analyzed claims made by Josh Hawley, a Republican running for state... More >>
10 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 6:25:00 PM CDT in Target 8
COLUMBIA- The Hinkson Creek at Jay Dix Station is covered in piles of trees and trash. When on the... More >>
13 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 3:36:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Big energy companies like Ameren and Empire may not be totally complying when it comes to renewable energy... More >>
14 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 2:42:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - New positions and upgrades might be coming to the Jefferson City Police and Fire Departments. Mayor... More >>
14 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 2:34:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 66th annual Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair operates strictly on a volunteer basis. The... More >>
15 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 2:16:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man is critically injured after driving a go-kart into the side of a St. Louis... More >>
17 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 12:03:28 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - College pal David Roloff has fond memories of Democratic candidate Vice President Tim Kaine at the University of... More >>
17 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 11:42:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
CHESTERFIELD (AP) — Police are searching for the suspect after an attempted child abduction at a suburban St. Louis outlet... More >>
20 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 9:07:52 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Fire crews put out a structure fire at a condemned house on 4th Avenue off Providence Road in... More >>
20 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 8:50:00 AM CDT in News
AVA, Mo. (AP) — Police say a teenager has wounded another teen and then killed himself before dawn in a... More >>
21 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:45:09 AM CDT in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Strong thunderstorms across parts of Missouri are offering relief from the oppressive heat and humidity, but... More >>
21 hours ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 7:27:24 AM CDT in Continuous News
PHILADELPHIA - Columbia resident Persephone Dakopolos arrived Sunday in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. Dakopolos was selected at the... More >>
1 day ago July 25, 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 3:04:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The National Association of Realtors reported this week a 9-year high for sales of existing homes this past... More >>
1 day ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 4:06:00 PM CDT in News
WILDWOOD (AP) — Two people were killed in a two-vehicle collision in eastern Missouri. St. Louis County police say... More >>
1 day ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:52:10 PM CDT in News
DIAMOND (AP) — Southwest Missouri has a newly dedicated prairie. The 163-acre George Washington Carver Prairie was dedicated Saturday.... More >>
1 day ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:01:01 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Tim Kaine has always been a leader. While as a student at the University of Missouri, he... More >>
1 day ago July 24, 2016 Jul 24, 2016 Sunday, July 24 2016 Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:37:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
6am 70°
7am 72°
8am 74°
9am 78°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
Are We There Yet?

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
NBC News Special: 2016 Democratic National Convention
7:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
7:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:00p
MADtv
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld