Cancer claims lives of 150+ fire fighters honored at memorial - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Cancer claims lives of 150+ fire fighters honored at memorial

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Inscribed in the granite of the Wall of Honor is a list of more than 7,600 men and women, who put the lives of others before their own.

Each name tells a story.

And each story came to an end on Saturday at the International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Firefighter Memorial, in Colorado Springs, with the somber ping of a large bell.  

It symbolized past traditions--like ringing out when fire fighters would begin their tour of duty, or after a fire was out and the alarm had ended.

"And so to those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man--their task completed, their duties well done--we will again sound their last alarm.  They have gone home," said IAFF Honor Guard Commander Bruce Brown, as he addressed the crowd.

Forty-three fire fighters and paramedics died in the line of duty in 2016.

But the other 153 names that were honored, died from work-related cancers--87 of them happening between 1977 and 2015.

In 2016 alone, there were 66 deaths, resulting from cancer.

"[It's] a disease taking our members that are healthier than the majority of the population when they start their career, and killing them at a faster rate during their career--clearly a result of the toxic soot in which they do their business," said IAFF President Harold Schaitberger.

The International Association of Fire Fighters promising to try and return each year with fewer names to add to the Wall of Honor.

*"We'll continue to provide the necessary training and to advance the technology and standards we use to make our equipment safer," said Schaitberger.

As for the 7,600 men and women etched into the wall, their names--and their stories--are now immortalized.

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