Last year was a deadly one for the nation's fire service.
Preliminary reports indicate 115 personnel died on duty in 2007 compared to 106 the previous year.
A USFA historical view reveals that there were 115 LODDs (Line Of Duty Deaths) also in 2005 and 119 in 2004. There also were 119 in 1989.
Heart attacks remain the leading killer. Stress and over exertion also were contributing factors in many deaths.
The loss of nine Charelston firefighters in June marked the largest loss of life since the terrorists' attack on Sept. 11.
There were six other incidents that involved the deaths of more than one firefighter. They occurred in Ghent, W.Va., Rhodes Town, N.C., Contra Costa, Cal., Noonday, Texas, New York City, and Boston.
In 2007, 59 volunteers and 49 career firefighters were killed. The victims also included three full-time and one contract wildland firefighters, two paid-on call and one industrial fireman.
Records also show 37 were killed on the fire scene; 24 responding; 20 on-duty; 13 after an incident; 11 training; 8 on scene, non-fire and 2 returning. Two fire personnel lost their lives during suspicious fires.
The USFA criteria for line-of-duty deaths differs from those of The National Fallen Firefighters' Foundation and the National Fire Protection Association.
A Waterbury Firefighter is included in this report. John was my husband's captain and friend:
Captain John Keane who died in the line of duty on May 22, 2007. John was seriously injured May 19, 2007, after the Engine he was riding in was involved in an accident with a ladder truck responding to the same kitchen fire. Captain Keane passed away 3 days later.
John was best known for his passion and love of his family, wife Monica, daughter Erica and son John. Participating in every activity at St. Mary’s School, where the children attended, John helped in any way possible. John took Erica and John everywhere he went, constantly teaching and exposing them to educational experiences on a daily basis. Photographs of the kids adorned his locker, chronicling the various destinations they visited. John was often described by his siblings as, “the glue that kept this family together”. Always willing to lend a helping hand, be it raking leaves at his Aunt May’s house, or entertaining the kids at his brother Bruce’s house on the trampoline.
John graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury and from Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in history. Instead of becoming a teacher, John chose to follow in the foot steps of his late grandfather, Waterbury Fire Department Battalion Chief Dennis Keane, and was hired by the Waterbury Fire Department in September 1994.
Shortly after he came on the job, people began to realize how special he was. He was quickly promoted to lieutenant and in January 2007 was promoted to Captain.
John was a tireless advocate for his fellow firefighters. During the 2006 legislative session he spent all of his free time at the state capitol fighting for the restoration of collective bargaining rights for Waterbury firefighters, and his efforts were successful. He was well known throughout the halls of the state capitol as always respectful, even when he disagreed with your opinion. Two words that could best describe John are articulate and humble. Shortly after his efforts at the state capitol he was elected to the secretary position of the Waterbury firefighters union.
Johns’ promising career was tragically cut short on May 22, 2007, so we may never know just how great of a loss we suffered. John will always be remembered by his family, friends, and foes alike as the consummate gentleman.
---- copied from the Waterbury Firefighter's website: http://www.waterburyfire.org/