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Fallen firefighter’s life celebrated today

Jan. 5, 2012 - Hundreds of firefighters and emergency workers from across British Columbia and Alberta honoured fallen firefighter Daniel Botkin Thursday in a parade through the streets of Enderby, B.C., to the local arena for the funeral of the young fire captain.

January 5, 2012
By Laura King

Jan. 5, 2012 – Hundreds of firefighters and emergency workers from across British Columbia and Alberta honoured fallen firefighter Daniel Botkin Thursday in a parade through the streets of Enderby, B.C., to the local arena for the funeral of the young fire captain.

Botkin, 25, died Dec. 29 in an explosion following a fire at a local log-home construction site.

The procession, streamed live on a B.C. news website, was led by an honour guard followed by bagpipers, and a pumper truck draped in black. An officer carrying Botkin’s red helmet walked behind the truck.

Firefighters, police and paramedics marched side by side, five or six abreast, through Enderby, some in short-sleeved uniform shirts, others in tunics. Some wore jeans and fire-department jackets; one department’s firefighters wore in black bunker pants and jackets. A contingent of RCMP officers wore red serge. Paramedics wore uniform shirts or neon work jackets.

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More than two dozen pumpers, aerial trucks, rescues and ambulances from emergency services across British Columbia and Alberta trailed the marchers, with sirens flashing in silent tribute to Botkin, a newlywed who had recently been promoted to captain in the 24-member department. The procession through Enderby, under grey skies, stretched almost a kilometre.

Emergency personnel from Abbotsord to Vernon and Calgary to Wetaskiwin, poured into the North Okanagan town yesterday and this morning to pay respects to Botkin, who had once worked at the log-home firm.

A 24-person committee in Enderby, with assistance from the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C., co-ordinated the line-of-duty funeral procession that culminated at the arena. Seating inside was reserved for family and local firefighters but the service was to be broadcast to those standing outside.

B.C. Lt-Gov. Steven Point, Mayor Cyr and B.C. Fire Commissioner Rebecca Denlinger were to attend the service, said Hope Fire Chief Tom DeSorcy, who is co-ordinating media coverage.

DeSorcy said in a Thursday morning interview with CBC Radio in Kelowna that the community has welcomed the hundreds of firefighters from across the province who arrived yesterday in Enderby for today’s service.

“A bunch of us arrived here yesterday and we’re wearing our fire-department t-shirts and driving our vehicles, and people re stopping and waving and saying hi, and they know why we’re here, and they’re really appreciative that we are.”

DeSorcy said the turnout and the support for the local volunteer department “will be spectacular.”

“It will be an incredible showing of the fire family gathering together to say goodbye to one of our one.”

Enderby is in south-central B.C., about 500 kilometers north east of Vancouver.

A trust fund in Botkin’s name has been established. Firefighters in Chilliwack, B.C., have donated $3,000 from the sale of their calendars to the fund.

A public reception was to follow the funeral at the curling rink, while emergency personnel are invited to the fire hall.