Westmoreland courthouse lighted red to honor fallen firefighters

October 4, 2018
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The Westmoreland County Courthouse dome is illuminated red, in honor of National Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters and seen Tuesday evening, Oct. 2, 2018 in Greensburg.The Westmoreland County Courthouse dome is illuminated red in honor of National Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

The dome atop the Westmoreland County Courthouse will be awash in red light this week to honor firefighters killed in the line of duty.

The illumination is part of Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters, which is being held across the country this week. It is sponsored by the National Fallen Fighters Memorial.

This is the first time Westmoreland County has participated in the special event for fallen firefighters.

Efforts to determine how many local firefighters and emergency responders have lost their lives has so far been unsuccessful, Westmoreland County Public Safety Director Roland Mertz said. But even without knowing the exact numbers, it is important honor members of the county’s 118 fire companies who put their lives on the line, he said.

“It can happen to any firefighter at any time,” Mertz said of the potential loss of life. “We recognize the risk they take and recognize those who have fallen and the risks involved with every emergency response.”

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation this weekend will honor the lives 80 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2017 at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

“We hope that this magnificent display of lights throughout the country will allow the families of the fallen to see that the nation is with them in spirit as they reflect on cherished times with their firefighters,” said Chief Dennis Compton, chairman of the board of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

The dome has previously been awash in other colors to commemorate different occasions, including pink for breast cancer awareness and orange for hunger awareness.

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