IAFF members, family and friends filled the Baltimore Convention Center to honor the lives of Baltimore City Fire Department Lieutenants Paul Butrim and Kelsey Sadler and Fire Fighter/Paramedic Kenneth Lacayo in a moving memorial service.
The Baltimore Officers Local 964 and Baltimore Local 734 members were killed in the line of duty on January 24 while conducting an interior attack on a burning rowhouse when it partially collapsed on top of them.
A fourth fire fighter who was trapped, Baltimore Local 734 Fire Fighter John McMaster, was released from Shock Trauma after being hospitalized in critical condition. Sadler was posthumously promoted to lieutenant.
In his remarks, General President Edward Kelly said, “Our brothers and sister responded and they did what fire fighters do – they went inside to put down the fire and save lives. As fire fighters, we know the risks, but it is still shocking when those risks become a reality. While I did not have the honor of meeting Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo, they are my brothers and my sister. They are my family. We must always remember their sacrifice.”
General President Edward Kelly was joined by an notable list of speakers, including Baltimore Local 734 President Richard Langford, Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964 President Joshua Fannon, Baltimore Fire Chief Niles Ford, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott, Sadler’s sister and Baltimore County Local 1311 member Lacey Marino, Lacayo’s sister Kattia Olivas and Lacayo’s fiancé Clara Fenelon.
General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and other dignitaries were also in attendance.
“January 24 and the days since have been the hardest of my career and, I suspect, it has been the same for my fellow fire fighters,” says Local 734 President Langford. “But we have rallied around each other to grieve as we continue to serve. And we deeply appreciate the outpouring of support from the extended fire fighter family and the community at large.”
In his remarks, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan described the heart of a fire fighter with a verse from the Bible. “Isaiah 6:8 says, ‘I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.’”
Hogan said, “On that day, these three brave individuals did what they were trained to do; what they loved to do. And even when the situation looked dangerous, they said, ‘send me.’ All of them chose a career path to help others and to do something that is greater than themselves.”
Saying that first responders never receive the thanks they deserve, Hogan challenged all Marylanders to find a way to show them their thanks.
Those who knew the fallen personally challenged those attending the memorial to not just remember them for how they died, but how they lived.
Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964 Fannon and Lieutenant Butrim worked in the same firehouses at various points in their careers. Fannon told memorial attendees that not only was Butrim a dedicated fire fighter and family man, but he was also an infamous practical joker.
Sadler’s sister, Baltimore County Local 1311 member Lacey Marino, described Kelsey as someone who took on life with “all gas and no breaks,” but she was also a fiercely loyal person who could always be depended on.
Lacayo’s sister, Kattia Olivas, and fiancé Clara Fenelon shared their memories of Kenny, saying he was the kind of person everyone strived to be and that they would always remember sharing his favorite pastime – attending concerts – with him.
The memorial concluded with each family receiving an American flag that had previously been flown in their honor and an IAFF Medal of Honor.