February 23, 2022

Stolen memorial plaques for fallen Edmonton firefighters replaced and reinforced – Edmonton | Globalnews.ca

Plaques honouring fallen Edmonton firefighters are back. The bronze memorials were stolen in Old Strathcona last year. Thanks to work by families of the fallen, the plaques have been replaced and are stronger than ever.

Lisa Hornland is the daughter of Les Ashton, a fallen Edmonton firefighter. She is hoping that newly-installed bronze memorial plaques at the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Plaza will stay put.

In July, several were stolen, likely to be sold as scrap metal.

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Tribute to Edmonton firefighters vandalized, fears bronze plaques may be sold for scrap

“These men and women have given their lives for us, so they deserve to be recognized on this plaque, and for someone to come and take it and desecrate it… is devastating,” Hornland said.

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The theft was a major blow to the families of fallen loved ones and firefighters with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

“When we heard they were stolen, it was very hard on the service,” EFRS Chief Joe Zatylny said. “We had a lot of people asking why. (They were also) concerned about raising money and being able to replace them.”

Hornland’s father was an Edmonton firefighter for more than 20 years. He died of cancer in 2002. His name was on one of those plaques.

“I was shocked,” she said. “It means so much to me and it hurts so bad that somebody else took my dad’s name.”

As soon as they were gone, Hornland got to work fundraising.

“I’ve raised $11,000 for it,” she said. “They replaced the bell tower already and that was at a cost of about $43,000.”

Her contribution and other donated funds helped the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society with a reinforced restoration.

“We’ve put a major security feature onto it, as well as enhance the look of it,” said Robb Cavell, the director of the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society.

“Before it was just plaques that were basically nailed in and those were what were taken,” Hornland said. “Now they’ve bronzed it all and encased the whole thing, so definitely should be theft-proof.”

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It is an investment Hornland and many others hope will pay off to keep their loved ones’ names where they belong.

“I hope it’s the last time that anything gets taken from this memorial,” Hornland said.

After thieves took the plaques with the names of fallen firefighters, they took other informational plaques. The Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society said it is continuing to raise money to replace those.

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