WATERVILLE — An open house and a ceremony will be held Sunday at Central Fire Station to unveil a granite monument with names of active-duty Waterville firefighters who have died since 1900.

The public is invited to attend the open house, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the unveiling ceremony set for 1 p.m., according to Lt. Scott Holst, who organized the event.

“The monument has 21 names on it and three of the names are those of firefighters who died in the line of duty, and the other names are those that were still active but died,” said Holst, the department’s historian, who wrote a book about its history. “The first firefighter that died in the line of duty was 1901.”

The 6-foot-tall, 80-inch-wide, red-and-gray granite monument near the entrance to the fire station was made by Provost Monuments, of Benton, and cost $8,500, he said. Firefighters collected money for the monument through fundraisers, including an open house last year and the sale of Holst’s book “History of the Waterville Fire Department, 1809-2015.” His books are available for $20 each.

A donor who wanted to remain anonymous also contributed to the effort through a matching gift, Holst said.

Holst, Mayor Nick Isgro and Fire Chief David LaFountain are scheduled to speak Sunday at the unveiling ceremony, with LaFountain reading off the 21 names of dead firefighters and saying something about each one. Four firefighters will serve as honor guards, the national anthem will be sung and opening and closing prayers said, according to Holst.

The open house will include tours of the fire station and activities for children, Holst said.

“I encourage people to come. There’s a lot of stuff to do at the station, especially with the little kids — a coloring contest that will be judged, and the winner gets to ride to school in a firetruck,” he said.

Children also will have a chance to aim a fire hose at a target to see what it’s like to handle a hose. Also, there will be an image of a firefighter with his face cut out and children may poke their heads through the hole and have their photos taken, according to Holst.

Free food, including hot dogs, potato chips and water, will be available; and T-shirts and other items will be on sale, with proceeds to be used to pay for the monument.

“It should be a whole lot of fun for a whole lot of people, but the big thing is the unveiling at 1 o’clock,” Holst said.

Holst said there is space on the monument for more names, and it will cost money for names to be added, so any extra money from the sale of his book or other items will be used for that purpose.

The great-great-grandchildren of George Proctor, the first firefighter from the department who died, in 1901, will be on hand for the open house and ceremony, according to Holst.

Through his book research, Holst found names of deceased firefighters and tried to contact their relatives to invite them to Tuesday’s event.

“Ernest Clark died in 1926 in the line of duty and his granddaughter is coming. She’s from Benton,” he said.

Holst said a statue of a firefighter donated by retired firefighter Louis King and his wife, Edie, and placed outside the fire station in 2003 is now part of the granite monument to be unveiled.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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