Plaques with the names of Carson City Battalion Chief Richard Chrzanowski and Clark County Fire Engineer Jerry Harper will be added to those of other Nevada firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty on the Nevada Firefighters' Memorial on Oct. 13.
The 10 a.m. formal ceremony, which is open to the public, will be held at the Nevada Firefighters' Memorial in Carson City's Mills Park. The ceremony will conclude the week-long observance of National Fire Prevention Week in Nevada. Members of the Clark County Fire Department, the East Fork Fire and Paramedic District and Carson City Fire Department Honor Guards will lead a combined fire service honor guard during the ceremony and will conduct the memorial bell ceremony.
Chrzanowski, 57, died of brain cancer on Dec. 31, 2009. Chrzanowski joined the Carson City Fire Department as a battalion chief in 1993, a position he held until his death. He began his fire service career in 1974 as a firefighter with the Glendale, Arizona Fire Department, later serving with the fire departments in Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona, as well as serving as deputy chief of the Ukiah, California Fire Department. Chrzanowski's death was determined to have been directly related to his 35-year fire service career. In addition to the physical demands of firefighting that often includes maneuvering in awkward and unstable positions, firefighters are exposed to carbon monoxide and particulate matter as well as a broad array of other toxic chemicals that together promote cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Harper, 57, died on Sept. 8, 2011 as the result of a heart attack while he was on duty at Clark County Fire Station 13. Harper was a 20-year veteran of the Clark County Fire Department. He was a past president of the Professional Black Firefighters of Clark County, and a member of the International Association of Black Firefighters. Harper's name has been added to the International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall of Honor.
In addition to the physical demands of firefighting that often includes maneuvering in awkward and unstable positions, firefighters are exposed to carbon monoxide and particulate matter as well as a broad array of other toxic chemicals that together promote cancer and cardiovascular disease. Under Nevada law, both are considered occupation-related diseases.
The addition of Chrzanowski and Harper and will bring the total number of names on the Nevada Firefighters' Memorial wall to 66. The earliest known line of duty death occurred in Gold Hill on September 6, 1870. Martin Panian, a member of Liberty Engine Company No. 1 of the Gold Hill Fire Department, was struck on the head, fell into an open cistern and drowned while fighting the Ashland House hotel fire.
The Nevada Firefighters' Memorial was completed in 1994 and is maintained by a tax-exempt, non-profit organization including representatives from the Nevada Fire Chiefs' Association, the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, Nevada State Firefighters Association and several Nevada career and volunteer fire organizations.