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Honour for US firefighter

The family of the late Carl Murray (below), a Blackpool born firefighter who died of work related cancer in the US, meet members of Forest Gates Blue Watch who joined his memorial service.

The family of the late Carl Murray (below), a Blackpool born firefighter who died of work related cancer in the US, meet members of Forest Gates Blue Watch who joined his memorial service.

Firefighters turned out to honour a fallen comrade who lost his life after active service in the USA.

Carl Murray was born and bred in Blackpool, spending his younger years in the resort before moving to America to pursue his dream of being a fireman.

But he died, at just 51, in July 2013 after being exposed to “toxic products of combustion” that are known to cause cancer.

His death was classified as a “line of duty death” and his workmates in Vancouver, in the state of Washington, held a memorial for him with a traditional fire service honour featuring bagpipes, honour guards, casket watchmen and a flag ceremony.

Now he has been remembered back in his hometown, and firefighters from Blackpool Fire Station turned out with an engine and a wreath to honour Mr Murray.

His sister Nicola Atanassova said: “He had a very large funeral in the US but we wanted something more personal for family and friends here.

“Blue Watch were really keen to get involved, they brought a fire engine and led the cars to the cemetery.

“They were very respectful, there’s an international respect for emergency services, especially because Carl lost his life because of his service.

“Carl loved the fire service, it was his life.”

Mark Winder, from Blue Watch at Forest Gate Fire Station, organised his crew’s involvement.

He said: “The fire service is a family worldwide and we were only too pleased when the family asked us to help commemorate his life and take part in the ceremony.”

Childhood friends of Mr Murray, from his school days at Devonshire Primary School, Blackpool, and playing football for Blackpool School Boys as well as in the Sunday football league, all attended the service at Poulton New Cemetery on Garstang Road East.

Mr Murray’s children, Sophie, 19, Quinn, 22, Olivia, 24, and Hailey 33, also travelled from their homes in the US and Isle of Man for the service.

They presented Blue Watch with a Vancouver Fire and Rescue Badge in a shadow box as a thank you from the fire team in America.

And the family visited Forest Gate fire station the next day where they were presented with a Lancashire Fire and Rescue cap and badge to return to the fire station in Vancouver where Carl was stationed.

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