A sacred bond to protect and serve links firefighters across the country for life. So when one falls, the others answer the call to service.
Throughout York County, departments are hosting firefighters from all over the East Coast in preparation for Wednesday’s public memorial for Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony. The York firefighters died last week when the fourth floor of a former piano factory collapsed after a fire.
Glenn Jansen, chief of the Dover Township Fire Department, says his station is among many hosting firefighting guests from Boston to Miami.
“It truly is a family,” Jansen said. “Everybody looks out for each other, no matter where we are or what the time of day is. It’s what we do.”
The firefighting community is tight-knit, but the reality is most out-of-town firefighters attending the memorial were likely strangers to Flanscha and Anthony.
“The folks that you’ll see coming from out of town probably have no idea who these individuals were,” Jansen said. “They’re there for the families and the rest of the firefighters.”
One of these strangers is a firefighter who has served 16 years in Boston. He asked us to withhold his name because he says it’s not about him, it’s about his brothers who lost their lives doing what they loved. As soon as he heard about the tragedy, he says he knew he would be at the service.
“We’ll be there for the families of our brothers,” he said. “Every town is the same firefighters. We do the same job, and I’d want people to show up to my funeral who don’t know me.”
“They’re never in it for themselves,” Jansen said. “They’re strictly in it for the public, to make things better. So, when the spotlight shines on us, we shine away because that’s how we’re wired. It’s what we do.”