London firefighters paid tribute to their fallen comrades during a solemn ceremony marking


the Firefighter Day of Remembrance in front of the London Fire Department Memorial Headquarters on Tuesday morning (Sept. 11).

Hosted by the London Professional Fire Fighters Association, the day commemorates the lives of those who died on 9/11 and the firefighters everywhere who have given their lives in the line of duty including members of the London Fire Department.

The memories of 9/11 run deep and it remains one of those days etched in people’s memories; a day people remember exactly what they were doing when it happened.

“I was working at Fire Hall Number 6,” said John Hassan, president of the more than 400 member-strong London Professional Fire Fighters Association. “I was just starting to vacuum, because I was the junior guy in the station back that day, and I had the TV on in the background. ”

“The rest is history, we were horrified to see what was happening that day.”

Hassan recounted how as he and his fellow firefighters watched events unfold at the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. They all knew the reality of what was going on inside those buildings, that people were going to die and that a lot of those people would be fellow firefighters.

For others like Retired Deputy Chief Peter Harding, the memories of fallen comrades hit even closer.

One of the most poignant for Harding was as a young firefighter, when Captain David Moffitt died in his arms while the two were part of the effort to battle a major blaze on Richmond Street in 1960.

“Especially with Captain Dave, when you think you were the last one who spoke to him and the words, you go over in your mind a number of times. Various instances at various times will trigger thoughts of that fire,” said Harding. “It brings a bit of a tear.”

And for many in attendance on Tuesday, those thoughts were also of another fallen member of the brotherhood, retired Platoon Chief John ‘Jack’ Duncan who died earlier this year from cancer.

His name was added to the London Fire Fighters Memorial Monument this year, bringing to 22, the number of London fire fighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Hassan said Duncan was a good friend of his and having his name added to the monument brings it all back home.

“It is a very emotional day for me, for Jack’s family and for a lot of the guys here that worked with Jack over the years.”

via Remembering fallen firefighters | Your online newspaper for London, Ontario.