Fallen Pa. Firefighter Remembered

Firefighter, fire marshal, dispatcher, deputy chief and engineer are among the positions Charles Hornberger held.

On June 30, Hornberger responded to his last call with Milmont Fire Company in Pennsylvania.

Not feeling quite himself when he got to the station, he let someone else drive the truck. He hung around for a while, and returned home where he suffered a heart attack, Milmont Chief Terry Burke Sr. said Thursday.

Hornberger never recovered, and died July 12 of complications.

"He was everything," Burke said, adding that in addition to Milmont, Hornberger was involved in a number of local departments.

He also was a dispatcher for Ridley Township Police Department.

Burke said what's ironic is the number 45. "It was the 45th alarm, and his badge number at the police department is 45."

The chief said Hornberger gave it his all. Even after diabetes caused him to lose his leg, he kept busy.

"He had an artificial leg. He came to me and said his doctor had cleared him to drive. He couldn't fight fires anymore, but he drove the truck and worked the pumps."

Burke added that his former deputy chief's demeanor was impressive. He knew if there was a work detail, he could count on him.

"He was number 1 in my book," the chief said of his long time friend. "You couldn't ask for a better friend."

Burke's voice lowered as he explained that after the heart attack, Hornberger understood his days were numbered. "I sat with him, and he told me what he wanted. He planned the whole thing right down to the pallbearers and honor guard."

The viewing and service will be held at his beloved Milmont Fire Department, which will be out of service Monday.

The viewing will be from 5-8 p.m. Sunday and from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Monday. The funeral service will begin at 10 a.m.

Firefighters will escort their colleague to Peter and Paul Cemetery in Marple Township, and pass under an American flag hanging between two ladder trucks.

Burke said the department has lost one of its cornerstones.