More than 3,500 expected to attend fallen firefighter's funeral - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

More than 3,500 expected to attend fallen firefighter's funeral

Daryl Gordon, from the City of Cincinnati. Daryl Gordon, from the City of Cincinnati.
54-year-old Daryl Gordon. (Facebook) 54-year-old Daryl Gordon. (Facebook)
Crews rescued several residents from a top floor balcony. Crews rescued several residents from a top floor balcony.
MADISONVILLE, OH (FOX19) - A 30-year fire veteran who died in the line of duty will be laid to rest this week.

Visitation for Daryl Gordon will be 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., followed by a Cincinnati Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Memorial Service at 7:30 p.m. 

Gordon's funeral will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 325 W. 8th St.

He will be buried with full honors led by Cincinnati Firefighters Union Local #48 with national, state and local organizations participating. 

Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, 11200 Princeton Pike, Springdale.  A celebration of life will be held back at Duke Energy Convention Center.

Union President Matt Alter said he is planning closely with Gordon's wife and two daughters to make sure their wishes are honored and respected.

As part of tradition, from the time Gordon was brought out of the building until he is laid to rest, an honor guard will be by the side of the fallen firefighter 24 hours a day.

"We never leave a fallen brother alone," said Cincinnati Fire Chief, Richard Braun.

Over 3,500 uniformed officers from outside the city are expected at the ceremonies.   

Gordon died Thursday as he searched for victims inside a burning Madisonville apartment complex.

"The term hero is often overused in this society, but firefighter Gordon truly meets this definition. He put himself in harm's way to help residents in the building,” said Mayor John Cranley at a press conference Thursday. “It takes a special breed to rush into fire when the natural instinct is to flee.”

The firefighter fell down an elevator shaft around 6:30 a.m. inside the King Towers Apartments on Dahlgren Street.[Minute by Minute: Inside the Madisonville fire]

“He was searching in a primary search to see if there were more victims in the fire. During that time, he came across the door and it was a elevator and the elevator wasn't there and he fell down the elevator shaft. That's what caused his demise,” said Braun. 

His fellow firefighters placed him on a stretcher and ran him out of the building into a waiting ambulance. He died at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“He died doing the right thing,” said a Harry Black, Cincinnati's city manager.

Gordon was a member of the heavy rescue unit - something Chief Richard Braun says is a testament to Gordon's love for his job even after 30 years of service.

Cincinnati fire, EMS and police vehicles lined the street outside University of Cincinnati Medical Center and followed the ambulance carrying Gordon's body to the coroner's office. 

"It does not surprise me that he was in there one bit,” said Rich Coleman, a friend and alumni member of Kappa Alpha Si along with Gordon. "That is the kind of guy he was. Always selfless, always there to help any of us. If one of us made a phone call, he was there."

A moment of silence was held Saturday night for Gordon at the Kappa Alpha Psi's annual Black and White Ball. Members honored Gordon by placing his boots where he was supposed to sit at the event.  

Departments across the Tri-State are flying flags at half-staff and expressing condolences over social media. 

“Giant teddy bear is what you'd call him because he always had a smile. Big smile, big burly laugh. A firefighter through and through,” said Matt Alter, president of the firefighter's union.

His neighbors say it was his love for people that set him apart.

"If he ever saw me moving anything heavy, he would race across the street and help me move it with a smile on his face,” said Kimberly Fonner who lives across the street from Gordon in Glendale. "He had that remarkable quality you know, that masculine strength and presence of a big guy and at the same time that gentle, gentle loving nature.”

The department's policies and procedures will be reviewed in a thorough investigation of the incident, said Mayor Cranley. Firefighters from around the city visited the site Friday where Gordon lost his life while fire department chaplains help Gordon's fellow first responders handle their grief. 

A second Cincinnati firefighter and some residents were hurt in the blaze, which broke out around 5:30 a.m.

The other firefighter hurt has second-degree burns, and residents, including children, suffered smoke inhalation.

A memorial fund has been established for Daryl Gordon at Kemba Credit Union. Donations can be made at any Kemba branch.

The last Cincinnati firefighter who died in the line of duty was Oscar Armstrong III. The 25-year-old became trapped in a flashover while battling a house fire on Laidlaw Avenue in Bond Hill on March 21, 2003. He left behind two children and a pregnant fiance. 

At the time, it was Cincinnati fire department's first line-of-duty death since Jan. 28, 1981.

Regionally, this is the first fire death in Hamilton County since April 4, 2008, when Colerain Township Fire Captain Robin Broxterman, 37, the mother of two children, and Firefighter Brian Schira, 29, died. The floor they were on collapsed into the burning basement of the house on Squirrels Nest Lane.

Also, 14 years ago this month, William "Doc" Ellison, 38, died days after plunging 10 feet while searching a burning home in Clermont County's Miami Township on March 8, 2001. He left behind a wife and young children.

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