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Ceremony to Honor Fallen Firefighters

October 02, 1998|PAULA PISANI

Firefighters who have died in the line of duty will be honored at a public ceremony this weekend.

Oxnard's second annual Fallen Firefighter Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at Oxnard City Hall, 305 W. Third St. It will coincide with the national ceremony honoring fallen firefighters at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

No firefighter has died in Ventura County battling a blaze.

"We've been really blessed, but also we are very stringent about following all the OSHA regulations," said Sandi Wells, spokeswoman for the Ventura County Fire Department. "I believe that our training regimen and the fact that we require our firefighters to train every day makes their stamina higher."

The county Fire Department has lost two on-duty firefighters, both captains, Wells said.

In the early '90s, Wayne Pulley suffered a fatal heart attack while running. In July, Terry Tyner also suffered a fatal heart attack, though he was not at the station or fighting a fire at the time, Wells said.

Uniformed firefighters from around the county will be in parade formation for the ceremony. The ceremony will take place under the American flag, which will be flown from two fire engine ladders that will be fully extended and crossed. Speakers will address the crowd and bagpipes will be played as the flag is lowered to half-staff.

Participants will include firefighters from Oxnard, Ventura, Ventura County and the naval bases at Port Hueneme and Point Mugu.

Since 1977, 2,475 firefighters have died in the line of duty nationwide, according to Oxnard Fire Department spokesman Dan Gildea. Last year, 94 lost their lives.

Gildea said just because firefighters survive the most obvious hazards of their job, they still could suffer serious health problems associated with fighting fires, including stress and breathing problems resulting from accidental smoke inhalation.

For more information on the ceremony, call 385-7706.

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