April 14, 2010

Ceremony honors three Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2009

Department of Public Safety director expresses gratitude to firefighters, paramedics and their families during annual fallen firefighters ceremony

Department of Public Safety Director John M. Britt today took part in a solemn ceremony in the Missouri Capitol Rotunda that honored the three Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2009.  "These firefighters represented the very best of Missouri's fire service," said Director Britt.  "They chose to be firefighters to protect their neighbors and to save lives.  They did this despite the danger and the sacrifices they and their families had to make.  Missouri is fortunate to be protected by such dedicated and brave men and women, career and volunteer." 
Two of the firefighters who died in the line of duty in Missouri in 2009 were volunteers.  Missouri has about 20,000 firefighters, approximately 75 percent of whom are volunteers.  In 2008, seven Missouri firefighters died in the line of duty.
Britt said, "It is important that Missourians recognize the importance of firefighters across this state.  It's easy to become complacent, knowing that whenever a fire or an emergency strikes help is just a phone call away.  But each one of us should think of the selfless commitment that firefighters make and of their importance to our communities.”
Here are the Missouri firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice during 2009:
·     Lt. William "Roger" Vorwark, age 49, Odessa Fire & Rescue Protection District: March 14, 2009.  Lt. Vorwark died after collapsing from an apparent heart attack.  He was working his third natural cover fire of the day.  He had been a member of the fire service since 1981.
·     Assist. Chief Dale E. Haddix, age 70, Schell City Fire Department: July 4, 2009.  Asst. Chief Haddix died after experiencing a medical emergency at the scene of a vacant house fire.  The fire was later determined to have been caused by fireworks discharged inside the building.  He had been a member of the fire service for 30 years.
·     Firefighter David Grass Jr., age 34, Ste. Genevieve Fire Department: July 8, 2009.  Firefighter Grass experienced a medical emergency while participating in department sponsored physical fitness training in the fire house.  He was flown to a hospital where he died of an apparent brain injury.  He had been in the fire service for less than one year.    


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