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n3dressel Firefighters and police officers watch the procession to the cemetery during Toledo Detective Keith Dressel’s funeral services.
Firefighters and police officers watch the procession to the cemetery during Toledo Detective Keith Dressel’s funeral services.
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Published: Tuesday, 1/28/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

TFD offering full honors for firefighters’ funerals

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo firefighters are ready to give funerals with full honors for two of their own killed in the line of duty, should the men’s families request the services.

Fire Chief Luis Santiago said Monday that the department is waiting to hear from the families of Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, regarding funeral arrangements for the two firefighters killed on Sunday.

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Others also expressed a willingness to help with the services, known for their grand scale and somber ceremony.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization established by Congress, has assistance teams in each state to help with funerals, ceremonial aspects of such services, paperwork, and provide grief counseling for families and fellow firefighters.

Executive Director Ron Siarnicki said the foundation reached out to Toledo officials to help if needed.

Oregon Fire Chief Ed Ellis said his department will participate should the families choose line-of-duty funerals, and Oregon personnel can help staff stations so Toledo firefighters can attend services. “We are a brotherhood. We support them, and they support us,” he said.

The union for the Fort Wayne Fire Department in Indiana, where Private Machcinski’s brother, Richard, is a firefighter, is arranging for off-duty personnel to be in Toledo during a funeral procession, though a department statement indicated details are not finalized.

Toledo has honored the fallen with official funerals before.

Most recently, the city said good-bye to police Detective Keith Dressel, who was shot to death in February, 2007, with a funeral that included more than 2,000 mourners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance.

That day’s solemn proceedings and official pageantry featured lines of officers at the church.

A flag draped the casket and the Toledo police honor guard stood next to the hearse. The Cleveland Police Pipes and Drums led a procession to the church, and along the way officers saluted.

Toledo’s elected leaders and Ohio’s lieutenant governor and attorney general attended the Mass that included readings, hymns, eulogies, and Holy Communion. At the end, a tape of the detective’s final radio call was played.

A procession of more than 1,500 police and other cars from dozens of states made its way to St. Anthony’s Cemetery for a graveside service. Toledo firefighters were among those who stood along Jackman Road and saluted the hearse. The procession included the Toledo police mounted patrol unit and, for part of the route, a riderless horse.

It was, according to one witness at the time, “overwhelming” and “impressive.”

Hundreds went to the cemetery, where law-enforcement personnel stood in rows. During the service, the American flag was folded carefully and handed to the detective’s widow. Taps and a three-volley shotgun salute by seven officers were among the farewell sounds.

Toledo’s deadliest firefighting accident was the June 10, 1961, explosion of an overturned gasoline truck on the Anthony Wayne Trail. Four firefighters died from their injuries, and at least one — Glenn Carter — was buried with full departmental honors.

Newspaper accounts indicate plans for his funeral included off-duty firefighters and officers marching to Station No. 5, then at Broadway and Logan Street. There, a bell was to toll to sound the firefighter’s last alarm.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.



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