© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WVXU Stories

West Chester Firefighter Laid To Rest: 'Your Dad Was The Bravest Man I know.'

Glendale Fire Chief Kevin Hardwick eulogized his friend, Fire Fighter Tim Burns, and encouraged all in the fire service to do what they can to protect themselves against occupational cancer.
Glendale Fire Chief Kevin Hardwick eulogized his friend, Fire Fighter Tim Burns, and encouraged all in the fire service to do what they can to protect themselves against occupational cancer.

Family, friends, and first responders said a final goodbye Tuesday to a West Chester firefighter who died last week of occupational renal cancer. Fire Fighter Tim Burns' death is considered a line of duty death, according to the firefighters union and the Glendale Fire Department where he also served during his more than 30 years with the fire service. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports firefighters have an increased risk of certain cancers because of occupational exposure.

Family and coworkers carry Burns' casket into the church for his funeral.
Credit Pool
/
Family and coworkers carry Burns' casket into the church for his funeral.

Glendale Fire Chief Kevin Hardwick eulogized Burns as his "friend, co-worker, confidante, student, teacher, example and mentor."

He called on administrators and other firefighters to take lessons from Burns' fight with occupational cancer.

"Chiefs such as myself... need to look forward with their community administrations to provide a higher level of protection for the firefighters and develop procedures and manage that risk. Line officers need to work with the processes and help by addressing it with all department members. Firefighters need to look within to make the decisions to reduce the exposures and to minimize the risk. We all know there's risks, but we need to be smarter about what we're doing."

West Chester Chief Rick Prinz grew up with Burns and entered the fire service with him at New Burlington.

"Over the last two years, Tim displayed tremendous strength and courage as he battled his disease. He  did not complain, ask why, gripe or even moan about the situation. Rather he accepted his fate, and like a true firefighter, dug in for the long battle."

Prinz calls his friend a special firefighter who served with pride and compassion.

"Fire Fighter Burns, you are officially relieved of your earthly duty in service to others and are ready to be commissioned into the Lord's fire service where you have been called home to serve once more. Rest in peace, brother."

Family, friends, fire fighters and emergency service workers from multiple departments arrive to pay their respects during the funeral of West Chester firefighter Tim Burns at the Church of the Nazarene in Springdale, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Credit Pool
/
Family, friends, fire fighters and emergency service workers from multiple departments arrive to pay their respects during the funeral of West Chester firefighter Tim Burns at the Church of the Nazarene in Springdale, Ohio, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Burns entered the fire service as an Explorer with the New Burlington Fire Department alongside his father, also a firefighter. He stayed on when Springfield Township took over the department. He went on to work for Colerain, Springdale, Liberty Township, West Chester, and Glendale where he served as fire captain.

At West Chester, Burns was a fire instructor, honor guard member, and part of the Butler County Technical Rescue Team.  He's survived by a wife and 14-year-old twin sons.

"Zach and Spence," said friend and Cincinnati Fire Fighter Joe Rosemeyer, "your dad was the bravest man I know. He fought a hard battle with a sneaky killer."

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit 91.7 WVXU.