The rookie campaign of Dan Morrow’s more than 30-year career as a Lawrence firefighter put him in the middle of one of the city’s most notorious fires.
As a 22-year-old who had just served 18 months in Vietnam, Morrow was called in while off duty the night of April 20, 1970, after a firebombing at the Kansas Union during student unrest.
During the 30-year anniversary of the destructive fire, Morrow talked about walking up the Mississippi Street hill in his fire gear because he didn’t have identification to get closer. He spent the rest of the night in the smoke-filled ballroom helping get it under control.
His willingness to fight fires that night carried on throughout his career in the city, colleagues said. Morrow had retired as a Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical battalion chief in 2002.
Morrow, 61, died Sunday at Midland Hospice House in Topeka.
“He was a great fire ground commander and a super supervisor who always stood up for his people,” said Jerry Karr, a retired battalion chief with the department.
After his retirement, Morrow majored in history and anthropology at Washburn University. He participated in archaeological digs and studied in Cambridge, England.
Survivors include his longtime companion, Phyllis Hoffman, and four sons, Daniel M. and Jonathan, both of Baldwin City, and Andy Putnam and Shannon Hoffman, both of Topeka.
Funeral services were Tuesday in Topeka.
The family suggests memorials to the Melanoma Research Foundation, 170 Township Line road, Building B, Hillsborough, N.J. 08844, or to the hospice house, 200 S.W. Frazier Circle, Topeka, KS 66606.