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Hundreds of first responders march in Kelowna firefighter funeral procession

A Kelowna fire captain is laid to rest after an active line-of-duty service. Joe Kolar died from a cancer that was linked to his firefighting job

The funeral procession for Kelowna firefighter Joe Kolar was an emotional sight to see on Friday as hundreds of uniformed emergency responders marched in unison down Springfield Road.

Firefighters transport Joe Kolar's casket to Trinity Baptist Church from a firetruck.
Firefighters transport Joe Kolar's casket to Trinity Baptist Church from a firetruck. Klaudia Van Emmerik/ Global Okanagan
Firefighters line up as Joe Kolar's casket is removed from a Kelowna firetruck.
Firefighters line up as Joe Kolar's casket is removed from a Kelowna firetruck. Klaudia Van Emmerik/ Global Okanagan
Klaudia Van Emmerik/ Global Okanagan

Colleagues of the 29-year veteran, who died on Oct. 31 from work-related lung cancer, led the way in groups of three to Trinity Baptist Church.

The firefighters were followed by bagpipers and drummers who led a black-sash draped red firetruck, which carried Kolar’s casket.

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The funeral procession included emergency responders from around British Columbia and stretched across four city blocks, which were shut down to traffic.

READ MORE: Longtime Kelowna firefighter loses battle with cancer

As the procession led to the church for the memorial event, the group marched under a ladder truck arch draped with a Canada flag.

There were many Kelowna residents who quietly wept while watching the scene from the sidewalks lining Springfield Road in light rain.

The Kolar family has requested through the City of Kelowna that they not be photographed during the procession or funeral to respect their privacy.

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