Thursday, June 20, 2013
As the Portland firefighters prepare to dedicate a new memorial to their brethren who died in the line of duty, they are reaching out to relatives and descendants of the fallen as well as retired members of the department to participate in the upcoming ceremony.
Portland Deputy Fire Chief David Jackson stands in front of the Portland Fire Department Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial at Central Fire Station on Congress Street. The memorial will be dedicated July 28.
The Portland Fire Department Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial is a tall slab of Indian black granite inscribed with the name of 20 firefighters who have died in the line of duty and an inscription attributed to the New York City fire chief at the turn of the century. The monument stands in a section of lawn alongside central station, on Congress Street between Market and Pearl, where many of those who died responding to fires and other calamities served.
"The names on this monument certainly gave their all in the ultimate sacrifice as a firefighter, never taking any consideration about their own safety but to protect the citizens and property of the city of Portland," said Deputy Chief David Jackson, who chaired the committee that worked on the memorial.
The memorial honors 20 Portland firefighters who died in the line of duty from Thomas W. Burnham, 69 of Portland who died of burns in 1903 to Frank E. Cowan, 44 of Yarmouth who died of a heart attack in 1993. An unknown number died prior to 1903 when fires were more common and equipment more rudimentary.
Several family members of those named on the memorial attended a groundbreaking ceremony last fall and organizers are hoping for an even bigger turnout at the July 28 dedication and official unveiling of the monument at 10 a.m.
Gawron Turgeon Architects worked with members of the Fire Department to design the memorial and it was constructed by Maine Memorial Company with assistance from Portland Public Services employees.
The $30,000 price tag was funded by donations from a group of Portland businesses. The dedication represents the culmination of 10 years of effort by a number of people within the department.
Honoring those in the fire service who have died in the line of duty is an important part of the tradition of the fire department, Jackson said, and helps family members honor their loved ones.
The department is asking relatives of fallen firefighters who the department hasn't yet contacted or retired members of the Portland Fire Department to contact the station at 874-8400, or the firefighters union at 756-8375, or by email at Local740@ portlandmaine.gov.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: