ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A memorial for firefighters will be built on the State Capitol mall next year.

Firefighters from departments across the state gathered Wednesday morning in Chanhassen, Minn. to announce that fundraising is complete for the $600,000 project.

Among those at the ceremony were widows of firefighters who died in the line of duty 40 years ago.

Mary McElmurry and Marva Johnson have been friends since their husbands both died fighting the same fire in 1971.

“It was a pizza house fire on Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park,” said Marva Johnson.

They are thrilled that this firefighter memorial statue will be moved to a new site — near the Police Officers Memorial — on the Capitol grounds.

Currently, a statue of a firefighter carrying a little girl to safety is a tribute to the 194 firefighters who have died in Minnesota. But its location at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport seemed odd to many.

An effort to get the statue moved to the State Capitol was undertaken and is now a success.

Mary McElmurry and Marva Johnson wanted to be at the event announcing that fundraising was complete. They were escorted in with other family members of fallen firefighters. The new memorial will be a place of reflection for families… as well as the public.

“And it’s gonna open the day before the anniversary of our husbands’ deaths, which was Oct. 8 — 40 years ago,” said Mary McElmurry.

The memorial will be on the Capitol’s south mall, near a handful of memorials honoring veterans. It will include the airport statue, and be surrounded by a plaza with the names of firefighters who died while on duty.

“The poles are lined up chronologically by year and month, and then the poles will have the names of the fallen firefighters, based on the year and the month that they died,” said Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer, describing the memorial. “Their names will be on the poles, and also their names will point the direction of the city that they were from.”

All Minnesota firefighters were asked to donate $30 to the memorial fund and many gave more.

Comments (7)
  1. Terry says:

    We’ll pay for this, but not a stadium that will get people working and raise taxes to help pay off debt? makes perfect sence. and to be honest they died while doing the job they signed up to do. they knew the risks. What about the road workers who died plowing snow or fixing roadways and bridges do they too need a memorial?

    1. Son of a Fallen Firefighter says:

      My father is one those firefighters that died as a volunteer serving his community and you’re an idiot.

      1. CiCI says:

        an idiot, is an understatement

  2. Billy says:

    * _Π_____*。*˚
    ˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
    ˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門| ˚

  3. Ed says:

    You didn’t pay for this, the fire fighters in MN did. Yes, they died doing a job that they signed up for protecting their communities. Many of these were volunteers.

    And you know what… even though you slam them and are not thankful for their service, they still will leave their families at all hours of the day or night, risk their lives, and come to your aid when called.

    Thank you fire fighters in MN (and all others that serve and protect our communities)

  4. Stub says:

    Thanks to all firefighters for there hard work on the job and off . Thanks for raising the money for menorial it is going to be nice .If they want a stadium then go out and raise money for it!!!!!!

  5. Daughter of a fallen firefighter says:

    Clearly your ignorance Terry is abundantly evident in your comment. My father was one of the men killed. Maybe you should volunteer your time like he did and die while serving his community. Fortunately for your sorry excuse of human being, the true heroes of our state paid for this. You’re not good enough to drink their toilet water. I pray you or your family never needs saving by one of these courageous men and women.

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