Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2007

Firefighters honor fallen Topeka peer

August 19, 2007

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The Lawrence Fire Department is sending two fire trucks and eight staff members to a Topeka Fire Department station Monday so they can honor a firefighter who died in the line of duty.

Capt. Anthony Phillip "Tony" Cox, 44, of Topeka, who was a 21-year veteran of the Topeka Fire Department, died Aug. 13 when he was battling a fire in an apartment complex in southwest Topeka.

Funeral services will be at 9 a.m. Monday at the Kansas Expocentre, 1 Expocentre Drive. Two-hundred firefighters are expected to attend.

Joe Hoelscher, Lawrence division chief, said his staff will provide protection to a station on the eastern side of Topeka while they attend the service. The two crews on a pumper truck and a ladder truck will leave from Lawrence at 6:30 a.m. to make sure they are in place by 9 a.m., he said.

Hoelscher recalled only one Lawrence firefighter who died in the line of duty in the 14 years he has been with the Lawrence Fire Department, and that was Mark Blair. Blair died in a house blaze in 1986 when the second story of a home collapsed while he was battling an intentionally set fire in the garage below.

"For a lot of us old-timers it brings back memories of when Blair died," he said. "There is a lot of empathy that goes out to the family and the Topeka Fire Department.

"It's such a devastating loss. We know what they are going through."

Topeka officials are investigating the fire and cause of death.

Hoelscher said details won't be released until all the facts are known.

The burial will be in Mount Hope Cemetery, 4700 SW 17th St. Cox will lie in state from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at Penwell-Gabel Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Road. His family will receive friends from noon to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Hoelscher said on their off days, Lawrence Fire Chief Mark Bradford, other chief officers and firefighters will attend services.

Comments

Michael Birch 7 years, 9 months ago

Less than a month ago, the Cox family laid to rest Tony's younger brother Dan. Now, they have to lay Tony to rest as well. Tony came from a rare breed of people who weren't afraid to risk their own safety for another person. God bless Tony and his family.

domino 7 years, 9 months ago

My condolences to his family. I can only imagine what a loss this is for them. Being married to a law enforcement officer for 20 years as well as being in EMS 10 years, I know many officers, EMS personnel and firefighters around the state. I daily pray for their safety on the job. It's not an easy life, but these people do it day in and day out for the love of their jobs. I am proud to have some many friends/family wearing the uniforms they do. God bless each and every one of you.

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