LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Thousands of mourners gathered Friday for the funeral of Los Angeles firefighter, Glenn Alan, at the downtown Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
“Glenn Allen was a beloved husband, father, brother, and son, a 36-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department, who like his father before him, dedicated his life to the most selfless public service there is — saving other people who find themselves in harm’s way,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during his eulogy. “He was a giant on the force.”
The funeral began at 9:30 a.m. and was preceded by an 8:30 a.m. walking procession of mourners from City Hall to the cathedral.
During the procession, Allen’s flag-draped casket was transported aboard a fire truck assigned to Fire Station 97, where he was stationed, and carried into the cathedral by pallbearers accompanied by bagpipers.
An estimated 8,000 mourners attended, including Gov. Jerry Brown. About 3,500 people filled the cathedral, and another thousand or so remained outside.
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Millage Peaks displayed Allen’s badge to the mourners, and described his fallen colleague as a hero.
“The word `hero’ is too often used to describe the most routine and common behaviors … but exceptional deeds, noble qualities, exceptional bravery, and special ability are what (define) an authentic hero, and firefighter Allen lacked for none of these qualities,” Peaks said.
He was “an outstanding firefighter … mentally and physically tough,” the chief added.
Allen, 61, was about a year from retirement when a ceiling collapsed on him and five other firefighters during a blaze that broke out late Feb. 16 in a mansion in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive.
He died last Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one day before his first grandchild was born. He had been with the fire department for about 36 1/2 years.
This week, the site was declared a crime scene as investigators looked into whether building and safety codes were violated.
Officials said earlier that the fire was thought to have been sparked by a faulty gas fireplace.
Allen was the first LAFD firefighter to be killed in the line of duty since March 2008, when Brent Lovrien was killed in an explosion near Los Angeles International Airport as he investigated an earlier blast that blew manhole covers into the air.
Allen is survived by his wife, Melanie; his daughter, Rebecca McPhee; his son-in-law, Brandon McPhee; his grandson; his mother, Alberta Holtze; his brother, Bruce Allen; and his sister, Deborah Abrams.
Following the funeral, a memorial reception was held at the Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training facility in Elysian Park. Burial was to be private.
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