Northern Ireland news

Fire stations fall silent in tribute to colleagues who have lost their lives

Firefighters at Whitla Station in Belfast hold a minute's silence in memory of colleagues who have died in the line of duty. Picture by Mal McCann

FIREFIGHTERS stood in silence outside stations across Northern Ireland yesterday in memory of colleagues who have died on duty - including those who lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fire stations paused at midday in solidarity with services across the world to mark Firefighters' Memorial Day.

Around 2,300 UK firefighters have died in the line of duty, according to the Firefighters' Memorial Trust which organised the day with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

There have been three more deaths in the UK since last year's ceremonies.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of four firefighters in Italy and 12 in the United States.

Social distancing meant that this year the public could not participate in the memorials.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said members "come into work each day to save the lives of others but, tragically, it is their own lives that can be lost in the process".

"There must also be lessons learnt from each fallen firefighter. All too often, their deaths could and should have been prevented.

"... While many remain in their homes as we battle coronavirus, firefighters continue to show up to work each day, keeping their communities safe. And, as with so many national emergencies, firefighters are on the frontline of this pandemic."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news