MEMORIAL SERVICE TO HONOR FOUR FLORIDA
FIREFIGHTERS WHO DIED LAST YEAR IN THE LINE OF DUTY
The 2006 annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service was held Friday, October
13, 2006, at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala. Four firefighters who
died in the line of duty last year were recognized for their bravery and
dedication to serving the public.
The fallen firefighters honored were Lieutenant Dennis J. Bottge, 53, Palm
Beach County Fire Rescue; Senior Forest Ranger Henry D. Hobbs, 37, Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry;
Firefighter Recruit Karl “Kliff” Kramer, 22, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue
Department; and Lieutenant Frank Kucera, 43, Seminole County Fire Rescue.
The deaths of these firefighters along with 131 others who have given their
lives “will not be forgotten and will not be in vain,” said Chief Financial
Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher. “I speak for all Floridians
when I say that we are extremely grateful to these men and women for
answering the call to serve and to their families for their support of
Lieutenant Bottge died on May 22, 2005, following a 10-year battle with a
blood-borne disease he contracted when he was stuck by a needle when a
cardiac patient suffered a seizure. Senior Forest Ranger Hobbs died of a
heart attack on February 21, 2005, after working to clean up two wildfire
locations. Firefighter Recruit Kramer died on May 28, 2005, after suffering
heat stroke during training exercises that included high-angle training and
a three-mile run. Lieutenant Kucera died on May 27, 2005, of heart-related
complications following an air-consumption training exercise.
The firefighters’ names will be added to the Florida Fallen Firefighter
Memorial at the State Fire College. This memorial includes firefighters who
died as far back as 1885. Their names will also be added to the Fallen
Firefighters Wall of Honor in the Capitol.
The memorial service was hosted by the State
Fire Marshal’s Office and the Florida Joint Council of Fire and Emergency
Service Organizations and concluded Fire Prevention Week.