“Putting their lives on the line:” Milwaukee honors fallen firefighters

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- For more than a century, Milwaukee firefighters have been protecting lives while putting theirs on the line. On Wednesday, October 8th, the Milwaukee Fire Department took time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"When individuals are running out of a building, it is our Milwaukee firefighters who are running into those buildings. They are literally putting their lives on the line for us," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

127 Milwaukee firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty -- the last one was 20 years ago.

"With the exception of Lionel Hoffer who gave his life in service on December 24, 1994, most of those we honor today were lost 50 to 100 plus years ago," said Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing.

Chief Rohlfing says 80 to 100 firefighters a year died in the United States, yet most of these incidents are preventable.

"The memorial is the reminder that if we're not always vigilant, if we do not manage the risk of our occupation, firefighters and civilians will perish," said Rohlfing.

The fallen firefighter ceremony is an opportunity to show appreciation -- while sending a message that the fallen will never be forgotten.

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