Local News

Memorial Service Honors Firefighter Killed In Line Of Duty

Posted July 16, 2005 5:53 a.m. EDT

— Triangle firefighters gathered in Raleigh Saturday to remember the life of a fallen comrade.

Todd Blanchard, 31, died Thursday in the line of duty.

On Saturday, co-workers from every fire department in the region attended the memorial service. A procession of fire trucks a mile long also honored Blanchard, who was a full-time firefighter with the Eastern Wake Fire Department.

"He died doing what he loved to do, and that was protecting and serving the community," Mike McPherson, Eastern Wake Fire Department spokesman, said.

Blanchard and two other firefighters responded to the scene of a fire at about 12:42 a.m. after a report that a tree was still smoldering from a previous fire.

As they walked toward the tree, a limb estimated to be 2.5 feet in diameter broke and fell, hitting Blanchard. Blanchard's death was the first for the Eastern Wake Fire Department, which was established 51 years ago.

"We knew death could happen because it's a dangerous job," McPherson said. "But for it to happen to such an exemplary firefighter at this time is...words just can't describe it."

Blanchard is survived by his parents, a fiancée and two young children.