Service to honor county firefighters

Event at Towson church to pay tribute to those who died during past year

September 24, 2004|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician Connie C. Bornman was treating a patient - on her sixth run that day - when she died in May.

After working the overnight shift at the Dundalk station, Fire Specialist Thomas F. Brown had just finished battling a house fire and helping with a cardiac-arrest patient when he died of a heart attack in December. And Maryland Line volunteer Richard A. Jones had completed a shift - one of many in his nearly 50 years of fire service - when he died in January.

The contributions of all three firefighters who died in the line of duty will be recognized Sunday at the annual memorial service for members of the Baltimore County Fire Service who have died during the past year.

The 6:30 p.m. service at Towson United Methodist Church, 501 Hampton Lane, will also pay tribute to 23 other deceased volunteers and nine other deceased career personnel, including John Michael McCruden, a retired Baltimore County firefighter and paramedic who played the bagpipe at many police and firefighter funerals.

"This is an opportunity for the fire service to remember all of those who help keep our county safe," said Elise Armacost, a county Fire Department spokeswoman.

Bornman, 57, suffered cardiac arrest after responding to a call in the 1100 block of Old Eastern Ave. to assist a patient who was suffering from chest pains. A breast cancer and stroke survivor, Bornman was the 38th firefighter - career or volunteer - and the first woman to die in the line of duty in Baltimore County.

Brown, 55, joined the Sparrows Point Fire Department in 1971 and continued to serve the industrial area when its former station was absorbed by the county Fire Department and renamed the Dundalk station.

Jones, 65, died in January after 47 years of volunteer fire service.

McCruden, who served at the Brooklandville station from 1971 until his retirement in 2002, frequently played at the annual Fallen Heroes ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens and at the National Fire Academy's annual October memorial service at its Emmitsburg campus for firefighters killed in the line of duty.

After the service, which will feature three soloists and the Towson United Methodist choir, Fire Department vehicles will form a procession to the firefighters memorial shrine at Courthouse Square in Towson.

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