Thursday, January 13, 2011

We Lost a Firefighter Last Week

Richard Paul, the FAO (chauffeur) of Pumper 43 passed away last Friday while doing a cardiac stress test during his annual physical. It was an unexpected death for Mr. Paul who was just 54 years old. He is remembered as a solid firefighter, a practical joker, a man of integrity and reliability, someone who was always willing to help out and most importantly a very kind and gentle man.

While he did not die because he was overcome with smoke, or had a floor collapse on him, or fell from a roof, his choice to become a firefighter had a negative effect on his health. The research shows it.

The South Kansas City Observer extends condolences to Mr. Paul's family, coworkers and friends. His funeral was today.

Images:Two screen grabs: Top: WDAF Funeral program. KMBC--Pumper 43 carries Mr. Paul's coffin during the funeral procession.


Bob G. said...

That is SO sad to condolences to his collegues and family members.
A police or fire funeral procession IS an experience...It is a very moving ceremony.

Stay safe out there.

chuck said...

Hell of a dangerous job. I would hate to go up those ladders.

the observer said...

Bob and chuck:

Thanks for stopping by, and noting the passing of this man. It is a dangerous job, still, even with all the advances made in safety gear over the years. As long as the best way to put out a fire is to get close to it, there will be danger.

I don't know if his death would have been noticed if it hadn't happened suddenly, or in the context of his yearly physical. Some newsie probably heard the scanner calls and picked up on it. However, as I noted, FFs are at a increased risk of death. It is less now than before, due to reduced numbers of fires and use of air masks, but it is still present.

and yeah, chuck, heights give me the willies too!

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Yes, the stress is bad. I have to confess I forgot about the height factor!

My sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of Richard Paul. May he rest in peace. May all those who cared for him find help in their extremity.

Ann T. Hathaway

the observer said...

Ann T:
Thank you for your gracious note as usual.

FFs have been taking on the chin recently for pay and pension issues on the municipal level. Cities have to guard against being penny wise and pound foolish in caring for firefighters and police also. The days of a pension at 50, and no contributions are over, for sure.

The Observer