Missouri’s fallen firefighters were honored this weekend during two services at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri in Kingdom City. On Sunday, May 20, the names of three Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2011 were added to the monument wall commemorating Missouri firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting citizens of the state.
On Saturday evening, May 19, a candlelight vigil was held at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri for all Missouri firefighters who have died while serving communities throughout the state.
“In 2011, we again witnessed the importance of Missouri’s firefighters—not only in responding to fires, but to a natural disaster across our state—and the incredible sacrifices they and their families make for the safety of others,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “The men and women of the fire service make a courageous choice every time they answer an emergency call, putting their own safety on the line in order to protect others.”
“It is important for us to honor the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters across the state and to stand in support of the families of the fallen,” said Missouri State Fire Marshal Randy Cole. “Firefighters know the potential danger that comes each time the alarm bell rings, and yet they respond without hesitation, making their fellow Missourians safer and their communities stronger.”
The firefighters whose names will be added to the Fire Fighters Line of Duty Memorial Wall are:
• Firefighter/Apparatus Operator Richard E. Paul, age 54, Kansas City Fire Department, Jan. 7, 2011. Firefighter Paul experienced a medical emergency during the annual fire department physical examination. Firefighter Paul was transported to a hospital in critical condition and later died at the hospital.
• Captain Leslie “Les” Clark, age 80, Dixon Rural Fire Protection District, Jan. 20, 2011. Volunteer firefighter Clark suffered a medical emergency while responding to a reported structure fire in a tanker truck. He had served the Dixon Rural Fire Protection District as a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years.
•  Firefighter Henry “Jay” Branscum, age 32, Northeast R-IV Rural Fire Association, Sept. 3, 2011. Firefighter Branscum suffered a fatal medical emergency while working at the scene of a structure fire.
The Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri is located one block northwest of the I-70 & U.S. Highway 54 interchange (I-70 Exit 148) in Kingdom City. There are plans to build a firefighters museum on the site. Donations to the Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation and the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri can be made to support the memorial.