Four fallen firefighters recognized in annual ceremony

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KINGDOM CITY - The Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation of Missouri honored four state firefighters who passed away on duty with its 15th annual memorial service.

Firefighters Art Civey and Francis W. Vogt passed away when serving with the St. Charles Township Volunteer Fire Department in 1969. Edward Cosgrove Jr. and Todd L. Hartlein passed away in separate on-duty incidents last year.

“It shows the families the camaraderie and the family atmosphere that the fire service brings into a community,” Missouri Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “It allows us to show that we do more than respond to emergencies. We do really become a family when we work together.” 

According to Bean, the Missouri Fire Service has lost more than 400 firefighters in the line of duty since the early 19th century.

“Having a line of duty death isn’t pleasant, but I think with having a facility here marked for our fighters to be honored in our state is monumental for our state and our service,” Bean said. “It shows the unity we have throughout the fire service and public safety life.”

Family members who attended received a bronze plaque in remembrance of the fallen firefighters. This plaque was a smaller replica of the statue that stands on top of the Fire Fighters of Missouri Memorial wall.

Brian Zinnani, the keynote speaker, said the ceremony was important to recognize family members who supported their fallen firefighters.

“We honor their families because it’s no choice of their own,” Zinnani said. “They are forced to deal with the sacrifice of their firefighter hero. They are the reason we gather today.”

The ceremony also recognized 35 Missouri firefighters who passed away off duty since 2016, and another who passed away in 2014.

David Hedrick, MU Fire and Rescue Training Institue Director, said the ceremony represents the personal sacrifices firefighters made throughout their careers.

“Despite the risks and the hazards of the profession, they stand ready to protect our citizens and communities and, if necessary, they exemplify that greater love for their fellow man,” Hedrick said.

The remembrance followed a candlelight vigil on Saturday in remembrance of firefighters who served across the state of Missouri.