11 fire departments relay statue to Capitol

  • Updated: September 25, 2012 - 10:54 PM

St. Paul Fire Capt. Bob Kippels stood over a statue to be dedicated Sunday as part of the Fallen Firefighter Memorial. The statue, a firefighter on a ladder holding a child, was last on display at the airport.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Vehicles from several fire departments on Tuesday morning escorted the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter sculpture from the western edge of the Twin Cities to its destination outside the State Capitol.

The handoff from department to department began in Howard Lake, rolling east along Hwy. 12/Interstate 394 to I-94, through the Lowry Hill tunnel in Minneapolis and into St. Paul before being placed about 10 a.m. at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial.

Douglas O. Freeman's creation, which depicts a firefighter coming down a ladder with a child in one arm, had been displayed in the baggage area of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before being removed six months ago in preparation for its relocation.

The memorial is in honor of the more than 200 firefighters and their families who "have given their lives in the service of their communities," according to Minnesota Fire Service Foundation, which raised about $600,000 for the project. Names of the fallen are inscribed on the memorial's columns.

Tuesday's procession began at Casting Creations of Minnesota, where the sculpture was "hardened" in preparation for the outdoors, and involved vehicles from 11 fire departments along the way: Howard Lake, Waverly, Montrose, Delano, Maple Plain, Long Lake, Wayzata, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park/Golden Valley, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

An honor guard received the sculpture Tuesday and will remain at its post until the artwork is in position south of the Capitol.

A formal dedication is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.


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