Fire Fighter Chris Kangas
Department Of Justice, United States Fire Administration
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Chris Kangas, was responding to his firehouse on his bicycle to answer a alarm on May 4, 2002 when he was struck by a motor vehicle. He was taken to Childrens Hospital with multiple head trauma injuries and passed away early the next morning May 5th, he was 1 day shy of his 15th birthday. We're just devastated," said Jon Grant, President of the Brookhaven Fire Company. "He was just a great kid. I can't believe it happened. It's worse than a nightmare." Despite the fact that Kangas did not die in an actual fire, Brookhaven Fire Company will provide him with full honors at his funeral. "We'll bring out all the trucks and everything for the kid, Grant said.He died responding to a fire call as if he was on duty."
As many as 350 firefighters and emergency personnel from 52 departments with 66 pieces of apparatus responded to Kangass "last call." One firefighter came from as far away as Massachusetts, driving eight straight hours for what he said was "the privilege" to offer his condolences.
March 30, 2006. Until this week, the U.S. Justice Department had denied the 14-year-old junior firefighter that proud title, literally devaluing the life of the Brookhaven boy who was struck and killed four years ago by a car while riding his bicycle to answer a fire alarm. Without the title, he was not eligible for federal death benefits and, most important to his mother and his fellow firefighters, not eligible to have his name inscribed on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. But Monday, after years of hearings and appeals, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Marian Blank Horn said, in effect, he deserved to be treated better. "Christopher Kangas died 'in the line of duty' and was a 'firefighter' authorized to be at a fire scene and perform duties as part of a team engaged in the 'suppression of fires' at the time of his death," she wrote in Washington.
Last May of 2006, the Justice Department appealed an earlier ruling by federal appeals Judge Marian Blank Horn, who ruled in favor of naming Kangas, a firefighter. As a full-fledged firefighter, not only would Chris get his name on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md., his mother would receive federal death benefits worth more than $260,000. She has already received local and state benefits totaling about $270,000. The money is not what is important to anyone, it is having Chriss name added to the memorial in Emmitsburg, MD. This past week Chris Kangass attorney and supporting members attended the hearing in Washington, DC. The court heard 15 minutes of testimony and has announced that it may take up to 90 days for a ruling on the case at hand.
This petition is for the Brotherhood of fire fighters across the nation. We need to unite together again and stand-up for our fallen brother fire fighter who can not fight this battle himself. If the Department of Justice rules that Chris Kangas is not eligible, this petition will be brought to the ceremony this year 2007 in Emmitsburg, MD. We are asking that members of our Nationwide Brotherhood post the link for the petition on their websites, on in-house bulletin boards, on in-house memos and wherever else that Emergency Service personnel can find the link and sign the petition. Please email the link to any firehouse you know, any fireman that you know. Lets make sure we get our fallen brothers name on the memorial in Emmitsburg, MD.
With the support of the Brotherhood we can and will make a difference in someway. If the Department of Justice or anyone else in the government reads this with as many signatures as possible they have to do something about it. Our fallen brother wanted nothing else but to be a real fireman, let us make sure he gets the honor he deserves. He did while responding to a alarm, and Junior Fire Fighters are fire fighters, they might not enter the building, but they help on the scene and we have members who are over 18 yrs old who do not enter buildings who receive the benefits. They are fire fighters from the time their application is signed. Chris Kangas is a Fire Fighter.
His family, friends, brothers and all involved appreciate your support.