They rush into darkness, flames springing up in every direction, to save a life without a thought to their own. Every day Toronto’s firefighters put their lives on the line as they protect the city’s residents and property. In the past firefighters faced death in the flames, many losing the battle.
Today better equipment has been developed to battle the flames but life-threatening danger lurks within the fire. Modern materials that have made our lives easier have a toxic secret inside. They burn faster, hotter and leave a mist of toxic smoke that gets inside skin and organs. Today the hidden damages, the toxic smoke that remains in the body days, weeks and years after a fire is what is killing many of our firefighters with cancers that ravish their bodies.
Since 1848 ,245 firefighters have died in the line of duty. On Sunday morning six names were added to the Memorial Honour Rolls of Toronto’s fallen firefighters. • Firefighter William D. Crawford, died March 2, 2015 • District Chief John D. Roach, died Nov. 11, 2014 • Firefighter Bruce B. Statton, died Aug. 9, 2014 • District Chief John Anketell, died Feb. 15, 2014 • Firefighter David E. O’Brien, died Oct. 30, 2013 • Captain Terry Haworth, died June 20, 2008. Family, friends, fellow firefighters and residents gathered at Fire Station 334 on Queens Quay Sunday morning to honour those brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price for protecting the rest of us.
City Councillor Janet Davis attended the ceremony speaking for the city of Toronto. After the service she said that she was honoured to take part. Asked why Mayor John Tory wasn’t attending Davis had no answer but said that she feels that it is very important to honour those on the frontlines who risk their lives. Davis is also the Chair of the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee and works to lessen the dangers that are facing firefighters and other first responders on the job. Firefighters at the event noticed that the city’s mayor wasn’t present and were disappointed. Former Mayor Rob Ford started the break of mayors coming to the annual ceremony but it was hoped that new Mayor John Tory would pay homage to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the city.
Firefighters want those in the city to know that they take pride in serving residents even with the greater risks of future disease present today. Because of those risks and the harrowing sights that they face firefighters are also dealing with mental health issues. Within the service there is discussion about all of the risks that are facing these frontline responders and making sure that they are taken care of without risk of employment.