JEFFERSON CITY, MO
Firefighters from across the state paid tribute to the fallen today.
Wednesday morning, firefighters gathered at the State Capitol to watch as Governor Jay Nixon declared today "Fire Service Tribute Day."
He recognized firefighters for their efforts and remembered those who have died in the line of duty.
Last year, seven firefighters died while serving.
One of those victims was shot while in uniform, as he stopped to help a standard motorist in St. Louis.
His wife, Darnita Riggins, tells KRCG he was dedicated to his career...“It’s dangerous but I’m proud to be the wife of a firefighter. He always talked about his job; he enjoyed working as firefighter, just a helping and caring heart and caring hands.”
The solemn ceremony was followed by a lighthearted barbecue outside of the capitol lawn.
Here are the Missouri firefighters/paramedics that made the ultimate sacrifice in 2008:
-Firefighter/Paramedic Louis P. Berra, age 49 (career) – West County EMS/Fire Protection: January 18, 2008 (He was found deceased on the morning of Jan. 18th in the bedroom of his duty station firehouse. His death is suspected to be cardiac related.)
-Firefighter Terrance Dale Crockett, age 48 (career) – Kansas City Fire Department: March 17, 2008 (He collapsed while on a hose line at a residential structure fire during overhaul operations. The fire was ruled as a set fire and the investigation is still open.)
-Firefighter Ricky Stephens Morris, age 54 (career) – Sedalia Fire Department: April 17, 2008 (He was seriously burned during fire suppression efforts at a residential structure fire. He succumbed to his injuries after more than a week in the hospital.)
-Firefighter Tyler Heath Casey, age 21 (volunteer) – Seneca Area Fire Protection: May 12, 2008 (He was injured when a tornado struck while he was warning citizens in the area to get to safety.)
-Firefighter/Paramedic Ryan Hummert, age 22 (career) – Maplewood City Fire Department: July 21, 2008 (He responded to a vehicle fire and as he exited his fire truck he was fatally shot by a gunman inside a nearby residence. Two police officers also were shot by the gunman and survived.)
-Firefighter Leonard Riggins, age 52 (career) – St. Louis Fire Department: November 5, 2008 (While in his fire department uniform and in official vehicle on his way home, he witnessed a vehicle accident. He stopped to render assistance and as he approached the vehicle the occupant fatally shot him in the chest. The suspect was eventually killed in shootout with police.)
-Lt. Clarence E. Watson II, age 35 (paid staff position) – Hematite Fire Protection District: November 29, 2008 (Collapsed at his home after he had responded to three emergency calls during his previous shift.)