Tributes poured in after two killed fighting fire

A town was in mourning and tributes poured in after two volunteer firefighters here were killed fighting a fire on the main street.

Raymond Walter, 30, of Listowel, and Ken Rea, 56, of Atwood, died when a store roof a store collapsed on them on March 17.

Perth Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger, himself a former volunteer firefighter, for 14 years, said, “This is a tragic loss for the families and loved ones of these brave firefighters. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to them from all parts of the community and the country.”

“For two local men to give up their own lives to protect their friends and neighbours is an example we all need to take into our hearts. Their dedication and bravery will never be forgotten. On behalf of the government of Canada, all parliamentary colleagues, and the people throughout Perth-Wellington, I offer my most heartfelt sympathy to the families of these brave men.”

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said, “I was saddened to learn today of the death of two volunteer firefighters in Listowel … They put their own lives at risk in order to protect their communities, just as firefighters do every day across Ontario.

Our volunteer firefighters take time away from their families to keep us safe. We rely on their selflessness, and today’s tragedy is a solemn reminder that we must never take their sacrifices for granted.”

Mayor Julie Behrns of the Municipality of North Perth said, “The tragedy of the two fallen volunteer firefighters in the line of duty has shaken and shattered our community of North Perth.” She said two men are “true heroes”.

North Perth Fire Chief Ed Smith said, “The loss of these guys is going to be so difficult for their wives, children, and extended families.”He expressed his appreciation for the support from the community as well as the condolences which have come in from all over the country.

Centre Wellington council had a moment if silence to honour Walter and Rea prior to their council meeting Monday.