Firefighters remember the fallen at memorial service

EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WEAU)- In the past year 73 firefighters have died nationwide trying to save countless lives.

This weekend they were honored for paying the ultimate sacrifice in a memorial service put on by the Eau Claire Fire Department.

Firefighting is a career that has always been considered dangerous, but those in the line of duty say it’s a job they take pride in doing.

“We had four firefighters that died in the line of duty in 2012 in Wisconsin. Locally, the most notable would be Jamison Kampmeyer from the Colby Fire Department but also in Birchwood there was a firefighter who died in the line of duty,” Eau Claire Fire Department Lieutenant Joe Kelly said.

When duty calls, firefighters spring in to action but it’s a line of work that isn't for the faint of heart

“We all have families to go home to and none of us think of what can happen but it is something that could happen any day to any one of us,” Kelly said.

Firefighters say on average they lose 100 of their own every year in the line of duty but they say they hope advances in technology and safety procedures will cut that number down in the future.

“We train every day for the job whether it’s reading manuals, computer simulation or actually going in and doing hands-on training,” Kelly said.

As current members of the fire department remembered their fallen colleagues Sunday afternoon, a group of 14 fire-medic students from Chippewa Valley Technical College sat in on the ceremony learning more about the bond formed in fire halls.

“The camaraderie and the family that you get is amazing. You get a close family and a close bond,” student Josh Romsos said.

On Saturday Governor Walker ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Wisconsin firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. The tribute is in conjunction with the national remembrance ceremony, which occurred last week, honoring the four fallen Wisconsin firefighters who died in 2012.

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