Fire department honors fallen firefighters

Irving Fire Department Honors Fallen Firefighters


The Irving Fire Department Honor Guard and the Irving Pipes and Drums set the mood as the department hosted its first Irving Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Irving Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday morning, Oct. 7. The event commemorated two fallen firefighters, James Presnall (1984) and Wendell McLuer (1988), while celebrating all the city’s firefighters.

“I want you to take a moment to put your mind beside this ceremony and think about it,” said Irving Fire Chief Victor Conley said. “How difficult it is to lose a lover, and to know every day they go out, they’re risking their lives to save us? It hurts no less when these families lose their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, and daughters.

“While we accept the dangers and risks of this profession, we should never accept the loss of a fellow firefighter without honoring them, and learning from their ultimate and untimely death.”

Conley discussed the timing of the memorial.

“Well the whole premise behind [the memorial service] is celebrating and remembering our fallen firefighters just ahead of Fire Prevention Week,” Conley said. “Fire Prevention Week honors the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871, where 250 plus people lost their life, over 100,000 were homeless, roughly 2,000 acres burnt. President Coolidge in 1925 designated the week of Oct. 8, which was the day that the Chicago Fire happened, as Fire Prevention Week. Fire Prevention Week is one of the oldest behavioral holidays in the United States.”

“Fire prevention has come a long way,” Jack “J.” Taylor, Irving Fire Department’s assistant chief of administration, said. “This event helps us not only remember those who we’ve lost in our department, but nationwide, and it keeps our minds sharp. It’s so important for us to train and stay ahead of the game.”

An annual memorial service will be observed in the future.

“A lot of times it takes a matter of time for people to recognize we need to be doing things like this,” Irving City Councilman Phil Riddle said. He began his career with the Irving Fire Department in 1978, retiring as a captain in 2010 after 32 years of service.

“This stuff is so important to remind the new guys about what they’re going to be facing, what they’re going to deal with; and for those of us who worked with the two guys, to be able to remember,” he said.

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