GREAT FALLS – When word spread across Montana of Great Falls firefighter Jason Baker’s passing, the firefighting community reached out with support.
Firefighters from across Montana came to Great Falls Tuesday to aid their firefighting brothers and sisters during Jason’s memorial service.
Great Falls Fire Rescue Chief Steve Hester said fire departments offered to help fill their four fire stations so local firefighters could attend Jason’s service.
“We call it mutual aid because that is what we do in the fire service,” Hester said.
Montana has about 600 professional firefighters so it is a tight-knit community.
Firefighters from Billings, Missoula, Helena and the Montana Air National Guard were happy to answer the call.
“When there is a call for help from any fire department, we go,” Hester said.
There was one firefighter from Great Falls Fire Rescue on each truck to make sure the visiting departments had what they needed.
“We had a working fire up at Public Works and they went and put it out. Just like we would do if we were staffed with our own people,” Hester said.
Hester said men and women go into firefighting to help people and being a part of the brotherhood is another way to support each other during a time of need.
“I cannot express my appreciation for those firefighters that came from those departments. The fire chiefs that allowed that to happen. The city administration that allows this to happen. It is an amazing thing,” Hester said,
A group of firefighters from the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) 7th District also flew in from Washington.
Hester said they managed to put the memorial service together in five days.
“It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of,” he said.
Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News