excerpt from ‘How the Civil War Changed Washington, D.C.’
“On May 19, 1864, the city decided to establish a paid Fire Department, which was organized on July 1, 1864. Only four companies were paid at first, with a chief engineer and five commissioners appointed for the new organization dubbed the Washington City Fire Department. This was effectively the beginning of professional fire fighting in Washington, D.C.”
Just over 150 years later, the District buried it’s 100th fire fighter who died while in the line of duty. Lieutenant Kevin Andre McRae was laid to rest after a large public ceremony honoring his service to District. He suffered a heart attack while fighting a two-alarm in an apartment building in NW DC on May 6th.
Lt. McRae joined the long line of fire fighters nearly 25 years ago. He left behind a wife, three sons and a daughter. He was 44 years old.
His public viewing was held at the Armory in Northeast, D.C. It was likely one of the few places that would hold the hundreds attendees would came to pay their respects to this man. Many were fire fighters from companies, not only from the District, but from all over the country. Congresswoman Norton, Mayor Bowser, Chairman Mendelson all spoke at his service. He was laid to rest at Lincoln Cemetery. Witnesses said the procession was the longest they had ever seen.
That seems fitting for a fallen city hero.
Rest in Peace Lieutenant McRae