Baltimore firefighter dies in Iraq

Man was serving in National Guard

October 16, 2005|By GINA DAVIS | GINA DAVIS,SUN REPORTER

A Baltimore Fire Department lieutenant was killed in Iraq last week while serving with the Maryland Army National Guard, city Fire Department officials confirmed yesterday.

Fire Lt. Brian Conner, 32, of Baltimore was in Iraq with the 243rd Infantry Division when he was killed Thursday, said Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright. No further details about Conner's death were available last night.

Conner, who joined the Fire Department in 1993, had been an emergency vehicle driver before being promoted to lieutenant, Cartwright said. His first assignment was as a firefighter recruit with Truck Company 9.

Yesterday afternoon, outside the fire station in West Baltimore where Conner worked, members of Engine Company 20 flew a flag at half-staff in Conner's honor.

"He was an upbeat, jovial person. He liked to joke around," Cartwright said. "But when it came time to getting serious with the job ... he kicked it into gear.

"He was tenacious," Cartwright said. "He would go in there and confront the fire with no problem."

Late yesterday, Department of Defense officials had not confirmed Conner's death, but Cartwright said Conner's family had notified fire officials of the death Friday.

Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a spokesman with the Department of Defense, said he could neither confirm the death nor provide details about Conner's military service until the department officially releases the information. He gave no date for when that might happen.

Conner is survived by a daughter, Adrianna, 10, and his mother, Cartwright said. He did not have the mother's name. He said that a Fire Department commander had been dispatched to assist the family.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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