Minneapolis (WCCO) – Seventy-three years after a Minneapolis firefighter died in the line of duty, his memory still lives on in the station where he served.
Arthur Tyczynski’s family made sure of that on Thursday when they presented the Minneapolis Fire Department Station Four with a special honor and with emblems of his service.
Tyczynski wanted to be a locomotive engineer, but his mother said that was too dangerous. So, instead, he joined the fire service. It was a choice that would later cost Art his life.
Fifty-nine Minneapolis firefighters have died in the line of duty in the department’s long history. On Dec. 4, 1941, Art Tyczynski joined the tragic ranks.
“They took a corner, and he lost his grip and was thrown from the truck,” explained his grandson, Jeff Schrempp.
Schrempp’s grandfather worked at Fire Station Four, near Lyndale Avenue and what is now Interstate 94. His family lived nearby the station, so close, in fact, that Art’s four daughters would hear the wail of sirens and head outside to see their dad.
“They’d then run down to the curb to see the trucks go by and wave and my grandfather would wave and they would wave back,” Schrempp said.
But on that fateful day 73 years ago, the little girls unknowingly would give their final wave.
“One block down,” recalls Nancy Tyczynski-Schrempp, who was 9 years old at the time.
Her sisters, Lorraine, 11, Bev, 7, and 3-year-old Mary were at the curbside with her. They’d never see their brave dad again.
“No tears today,” Nancy said as they walked into their father’s old fire station.
Back then, fire trucks didn’t have enclosed cabs. Firefighters would have to grab onto leather straps or brass rails running down the sides of trucks and hang on.
“He didn’t have his helmet on when he fell” Nancy said. “He was trying to get his boots on.”
Seventy-three years later, the Tyczynski family came back to Art’s old fire station on the anniversary of his death and presented a plaque in his honor. They brought with them his old fire helmet and silver badge.
“I’d like to present to Number Four something which means the world to me and to my family,” Nancy said, handing over the framed photo collection of her father.
Firefighter Dominic Rigert proudly accepted the gift and said it will hang prominently on the station wall.
Just another way to remember the fallen and to honor the service of one brave soul so many years ago.
There’s another reason Arthur’s family will never forget his passing. He was buried one day after Pearl Harbor was bombed and the U.S. entered World War II.
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