Oct. 27--BECKLEY -- A giant American flag whipped in the wind Saturday as a local hero was honored for his sacrifice.
The legacy of late Fire Captain Fred Burroughs, one of the four men killed in the 2007 explosion of the Little General Store in Ghent, will live on. As a result of recent legislation, coordinated by Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, the bridge spanning Cranberry Creek on the East Beckley Bypass was dedicated Saturday as the Fire Captain Fred Burroughs Memorial Bridge.
Burroughs worked as a Ghent volunteer firefighter in different capacities for 33 years. At the time of his death, he was Ghent's fire captain and a Raleigh County building code inspector.
"On Jan. 30, 2007, after a call for an inspection at Flat Top Lake, Fred stopped by at the Little General Store and was advised by the staff of a propane tank leak," Green said.
"Fred instructed the workers to close the store immediately, and gave instructions for the parking lot to be evacuated and no customers to be allowed in the parking lot. Fred had gone to the rear of the store to determine the source of the leak when the store exploded, killing him instantly, as well as killing another emergency responder and two propane technicians.
"Fred was instrumental saving
people from harm that fateful day," Green said.
Burroughs left behind a loving family, including his wife, Hazel, and two children, Lindsay and Christopher.
"It's an honor to just drive by this bridge and say, 'That's Dad's bridge.' Fred would have been so honored to have this bridge named after him, as we are," said Hazel, as she thanked everyone present for their continued love and support, one of whom was their pastor, Roland Roberts.
"This bridge now becomes a legacy not only of Fred Burroughs, but of everyone that's a first responder," said Roberts.
"We know that first responders are so often the people behind the scenes, often nameless, often forgotten. I want to encourage you that every time you come across this bridge, to not only remember Fred and the price that he paid, but also the risks that are taken every moment, every day, by people all across our great state of West Virginia," said Roberts.
One of the first responders present filled a dual role, as she was also Fred's daughter. Lindsay Burroughs, 19, is now following in her father's footsteps, working as a Ghent volunteer firefighter.
"I try to do things that I know he'd be proud of me for," Lindsay said.
"She's the prettiest firefighter that you'll ever see," Hazel said, as she held back tears.
A large attendance of Burroughs' family and friends as well as a group of emergency responders, local delegates and political representatives were on-site for the dedication ceremony.
"Fred's legacy will live on," Hazel said.
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Copyright 2013 - The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.