New statue honours B.C.’s firefighters

Cranbrook firefighters among 700 who attended last week’s unveiling of a new statue at the B.C. Legislature building.

Cranbrook firefighters stand by the new statue of recognition outside the B.C. Legislature building in Victoria on Wednesday

Cranbrook firefighters stand by the new statue of recognition outside the B.C. Legislature building in Victoria on Wednesday

A bronze statue recognizing the sacrifice of B.C. firefighters who have died in the line of duty was unveiled in Victoria last week.

Three Cranbrook firefighters attended the ceremony on February 13 on the grounds of the B.C. Legislature building, some of 700 uniformed firefighters from all over the province who took part.

“The whole ceremony was very moving, recognizing all our fallen brothers and sisters across the province. It was an honour to be there, it truly was,” said Clayton Murrell, president of Cranbrook Firefighters. “It was an incredible experience.”

Two Cranbrook firefighters who have passed away were among those recognized by the statue: Kelly Ferner and Ron Sauve, who both died in the line of duty.

Local firefighter and bagpiper Dan MacKinnon joined 30 other bagpipers from across the province for the parade and ceremony.

“The BC Professional Firefighters worked with government for three years to accomplish this memorial, and we thank them for this as well as (Kootenay East MLA) Bill Bennett whose ministry assisted,” said Murrell.

The memorial recognizes firefighters who have died due to injury or illness related to their work, said Mike Hurley, president of the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association. Firefighters are more likely than the general population to suffer some cancers and coronary disease due to the environments they work in.

Premier Christy Clark unveiled the statue in the ceremony last Wednesday.

“The statue is a permanent tribute to their service and recognizes their ultimate sacrifice, as well as their families and colleagues who continue to mourn their loss,” she said in a statement.