'Our deepest gratitude:' City honours fallen firefighters in special ceremony

It was the final bell for members of the Edmonton Fire Service that died last year.

A bell chimed for each of the 20 active and retired members who died, as the community gathered at the Firefighter Memorial Plaza on 83rd Avenue to honour their service on Tuesday.

"This day is an opportunity for our whole community to reflect on that service and offer our deepest gratitude," Mayor Don Iveson said, addressing the crowd filled with active service members and the families of those being honoured.

"What they sign up for and what families sign up for is extraordinary service, really unlike anything else."

Richard Marion/CBC

The event coincided with the anniversary of the attacks on World Trade Center, 17 years later. The remembrance is held annually on Sept. 11, an homage to the single largest loss of firefighters in history.

"Quite frankly, that day, the loss of 343 of New York's bravest have really changed the fire service forever," said Fire Chief Ken Block.

"It's a different fire service today than it was in 2001."

Richard Marion/CBC

Marc Renaud, the 29-year-old firefighter who died by suicide last month, was also mentioned during the memorial. His death engendered a conversation about the post-traumatic stress and mental health among emergency services.

Richard Marion/CBC

"Whether it be from a single catastrophic incident on the emergency grounds, or repeated multiple exposures endured over a career in the fire service, all too often resulting in occupational illnesses," Block said.

"Sometimes physical, sometimes mental."

Richard Marion/CBC

Renaud will be on the list of names read during next year's ceremony.