Gardnerville firefighter to be honored
CARSON CITY — The names of four firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty will be added to the Nevada Firefighters Memorial at Mills Park during a Saturday public ceremony.
Pilot Steve Wass, 42, of Gardnerville, co-pilot Craig Labare, 36, of Loomis, Calif., and flight engineer Mike Davis, 59, of Bakersfield, died June 17 when their C-130 air tanker crashed after dropping fire retardant on the Cannon Fire in Walker, Calif.
Based at the Douglas County Airport in Minden, the tanker was on contract to the Forest Service from Hawkins and Powers Aviation Inc. of Greybull, Wyo.
“The crash of the C-130 was a major tragedy in terms of loss of life, but in my view even one loss is one too many,” said Steve Frady, secretary and historian of Nevada Firefighters Memorial Inc. “This event is of primary importance, not only for the families but also for the public and firefighters. These individuals made the ultimate sacrifice, dying in the line of duty.”
The other firefighter is Capt. Bob Marsh, 78, who was responding to a rescue when he suffered a heart attack and died Oct. 14, 2001. His was the first on-duty death of a Clark County firefighter in more than 25 years.
The ceremonies will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Nevada Firefighters Memorial on the east side of Mills Park in Carson City.
The East Fork Fire and Paramedic District will provide the honor guard for the ceremony, which includes a performance by the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band.
The invocation will be provided by Pastor Ruth Hanusa, chaplain for the Nevada Firefighters Memorial.
The addition of the four men’s names to the memorial brings the total number of Nevada firefighters known to have died in the line of duty to 50.
The earliest known line-of-duty death occurred in Gold Hill on Sept. 6, 1870. Martin Panian, a member of Liberty Engine Co. No. 1 of the Gold Hill Fire Department, was struck on the head, fell into an open cistern and drowned while fighting the Ashland House fire.
An annual event, the Nevada Firefighters Memorial Enrollment of Honorees ceremony takes place the last Saturday in October during National Fire Prevention week.
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