STAMFORD, Conn. -- In a ceremony Sunday, Stamford will remember a city firefighter who died from cancer last year, honoring his contribution to the city while calling attention to the toxic dangers faced by firefighters.
Rick Saunders, who died Nov. 28, 2015, will be remembered at a ceremony and a memorial plaque dedication in his honor at 9:30 a.m. outside Station 2 at 215 Washington Blvd, where he was assigned to Truck 2.
“Cancer is a very serious threat to the firefighting profession, due to the consistent exposure to toxins,” said Brendan Keatley, president of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association. “One year ago we lost a dedicated colleague and public servant when Rick Saunders succumbed to this horrific disease. The firefighters and people of Stamford must always recall his service and the ultimate sacrifice that he made in keeping this city safe.”
Nationally, cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health finds firefighters are 14 percent more likely to die from cancer as compared with the general population. This is due to frequent exposure to carcinogens and toxins when modern furnishing and household products burn.
Stamford Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Tripodi from the Police and Firemen’s Insurance Association (PFIA) will present a check to the Fire Fighter Cancer Support Network in memory of Rick Saunders.
The FCSN's role is to provide timely assistance to all fire service members and their families in the event of cancer diagnosis while the objective of the PFIA is to provide immediate financial assistance to the families of police officers and fire fighters who have suffered injury, illness or death.