Fallen firefighters to be honored

Line-of-duty deaths claimed two local men

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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Two Vancouver-area firefighters are among those being recognized Sunday at the Washington State Capitol rotunda as part of the annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.

Vancouver Fire Department Capt. Carl Murray and Clark County Fire District 6 Firefighter Robert Hamel died last year, as did four other Washington firefighters.

Murray died of lung cancer at age 51 on July 31. Hamel died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma shortly before his 60th birthday on July 25.

Both were considered line-of-duty deaths because firefighters are exposed to byproducts of combustion that are assumed to cause cancer.

On Friday, Fire District 6 and the Vancouver Fire Department honored their fallen peers. A motorcade with the International Association of Firefighters’ 7th District visited the headquarter stations for both agencies.

Fire District 6’s Hazel Dell station hosted a ceremony for Hamel, where Chief Jerry Green and the department’s chaplain spoke. The motorcycle group picked up a ribbon bearing Hamel’s name, which will be presented at Sunday’s 1 p.m. ceremony in Olympia.

“It was a great honor to be able to present Firefighter Hamel’s flag at the ceremony,” said Assistant Chief Shawn Newberry. “He was a brother to us at the fire department. We were also honored to have Robert’s family at the flag ceremony here in Hazel Dell.”

The motorcycle group went to Station 5 in Vancouver, where they picked up Murray’s ribbon, said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Olsen. Murray’s family will present the ribbon at the ceremony.