Fallen firefighters honoured with new plaque in downtown Saskatoon

Click to play video: 'Remembering 2 fallen Saskatoon firefighters' Remembering 2 fallen Saskatoon firefighters
WATCH ABOVE: A special memorial was held in Saskatoon Tuesday to remember two fallen firefighters in a 1980 blaze. Ryan Kessler finds out how paying the ultimate price will serve as a reminder for generations to come – May 31, 2016

A new plaque in downtown Saskatoon honours the lives of two firefighters who made “the supreme sacrifice” while battling a blaze in 1980. Victor Budz and Dennis Guenter died as a result of the fire that destroyed the Queen’s Hotel.

Lt. Wayne Budz said his late uncle was his inspiration to join the department 26 years ago.

“When he’d come down for vacation, we’d always visit and I just wanted to be like that,” Budz said.

The plaque has been installed at the former site of the Queen’s Hotel. It’s located between 1 Avenue South and 2 Avenue South on 20th Street East on the exterior of the movie theatre.

“I can’t express how proud I am,” Budz said.

READ MORE: La Loche, Sask. shooting paramedics honoured at Government House

His uncle is remembered as a 47-year-old man who never missed a day of work in his 17 years on the job. Guenter, 29 at the time, had been with the department for less than two years.

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They are the most recent firefighter deaths while on duty in Saskatoon.

“From that day there was a change in our breathing apparatus. We went from a half-hour bottle to a full-hour bottle,” Saskatoon fire Chief Morgan Hackl said.

A scholarship fund and other memorials also pay tribute to the two men. Their deaths serve as a constant reminder of the extreme importance of safety for firefighters, Hackl said.

“It’s very important in terms of how serious their job is and how serious our training efforts [are] and how serious taking care of each other is in their day to day work,” he said.

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