After an emotional year that included four deaths by fire and one fallen officer, the Harrisburg Fire Bureau today celebrated its officers at its annual awards ceremony, held appropriately at the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum on 4th street.
“We lost too much to fire this past year,” Chief Brian Enterline said in his opening remarks.
The bureau responded to two deadly structure fires that claimed a total of four lives in 2017, and also lost an officer, Lt. Dennis DeVoe, in the line of duty.
Councilman Cornelius Johnson, who chairs the council’s public safety committee, praised the department’s resilience in the face of tragedy.
“This was one of the most challenging years for our Fire Bureau, and they showed the utmost poise and professionalism,” Johnson said.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse thanked the firefighters for their “acts of heroism, bravery and cooperation that take place on a daily basis.”
He also commended the department’s management, saying that they set an “outstanding” example of budgeting for other city departments. The Fire Bureau operates an $8 million annual budget, Enterline said on Tuesday.
Many members of the department were given awards this afternoon for their achievements in the line of duty. Papenfuse also swore in newly promoted officers, including a battalion chief and two lieutenants. The bureau also recognized two officers who retired.
The ceremony concluded with a ceremony to commemorate DeVoe, who lost his life in March on his way to fight to a deadly fire on Lexington Street. He was driving on Market and 14th streets when a drunk driver T-boned his car and killed him.
The Fire Museum placed DeVoe’s name on its memorial wall, which records the names of fallen officers in the Harrisburg area.