A long-time Burnaby firefighter who lost an 18-month battle against lung cancer this month will be honoured at a funeral with full departmental honours next Tuesday.
Senior Captain Ken Kinney – the Tin Man, as he was affectionately known among local firefighters – came to the Burnaby Fire Department on June 18, 1990 and rose through the ranks of lieutenant, captain and senior captain.
“He served the citizens of Burnaby with distinction and honour for 28 years,” stated a letter from the local firefighters union read out by Mayor Mike Hurley at a city council meeting last Monday. “He was well respected among his peers, was a proud member of IAFF Local 323. His strong leadership skills and world-class nickname assignments made him easy to follow and a joy to be around.”
The 56-year-old was an avid hockey player and committed to the Burnaby Fire Department, the letter went on to say, but that commitment paled in comparison to his dedication to his wife and three daughters.
“Every sacrifice he made was to support his girls,” stated the letter. “They will forever remain a part of our BFD family.”
Hurley added personal comments after reading the letter, saying he and Kinney had worked on the same shift at the fire department and were good friends.
“The Tin Man will be sorely missed by us all, so rest in peace, Ken,” he said.
Line of Duty
Kinney – a healthy, fit, non-smoker, according to fellow firefighters – was diagnosed with lung cancer 18 months ago.
His battle against the disease sparked an inspirational performance from Burnaby firefighters in February at the BC Lung Association’s Climb the Wall stair-climb fundraiser.
Dedicating their efforts to Kinney, local firefighters owned the podium and won most of the top firefighter fundraising awards.
Firefighters are three times more likely than the general population to die of cancer.
The risk is elevated because of exposure to toxic chemicals on the job, so firefighters who lose their lives to work-related cancers – like Kinney’s – are deemed to have died in the line of duty.
A line-of-duty-death funeral for Kinney, open to all fire service personnel, emergency responders, elected officials and the public, will take place at Willingdon Church (4812 Willingdon Ave.) on Tuesday, June 25.
The event will start with a procession at 9 a.m. followed by a service at the church at 10 a.m.
Willingdon Avenue will be closed to vehicle access from Canada Way to Burke Street from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Access across Willingdon at Moscrop/Deer Lake Parkway will also be closed.
Free parking will be provided all day at BCIT.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Burnaby Firefighters’ Charitable Society at www.burnabyfirefighters.com.