Bridge Renamed After Fallen N.C. Fire Captain

A bridge was renamed Wednesday in honor of an Asheville fire captain killed battling a commercial fire last summer.

Stacy Bowen, wife of Capt. Jeff Bowen who died in a July 2011 blaze at an office building, called the renaming of the Smoky Park Bridge a "good day," according to The Citizen-Times.

The 37-year-old firefighter succumbed to the heat and smoke while searching for people inside the structure on Biltmore Avenue.

"For me, just to see his name on that sign, that brought it full circle for me," she told the newspaper.

Several hundred were in attendance for the morning ceremony at the Westgate Shopping Center parking in sight of the bridge.

Two green "Capt. Jeff Bowen Bridge" signs, for each end of the bridge, were unveiled.

The bridge is the busiest point on the state highway system west of Gaston County and spans the French Broad River.

Firefighters throughout the area campaigned for the renaming of the bridge after the Department of Transportation initially denied the proposal.

More than 7,700 people signed an online petition.