Reminder: Public events Sunday to mark first anniversary of Sterling firefighter’s line-of-duty death

Procession from cemetery will pass both firehouses

Garrett Ramos

STERLING – Sunday is the first anniversary of the day Sterling’s first firefighter in the department’s 150-year history died in the line of duty.

Garrett Ramos was 38 years old, with a wife and two little girls, when he fell through the floor of a burning home in Rock Falls on Dec. 4, where he died.

Ramos was a lieutenant; he was promoted to captain posthumously.

Mass will be celebrated at 7 a.m. Sunday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 600 Ave. B, and at 8:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2224 Ave. J.

At 11:45 a.m., there will be a toast, and a procession leaving Calvary Cemetery, which is at the corner of East LeFevre and Freeport roads.

It will travel north on Freeport, then turn west onto Lynn Boulevard, where it will pass the Sterling Fire Department substation at Lynn and 16th Street. It will continue west to Locust Street, where it will turn south until it reaches the downtown, where it will head west on West Fifth Street, passing the main fire station.

Ramos died fighting a fire on Ridge Road when he fell into a basement fire command did not at the time know was there.

His partner was not with him, his mayday was not recognized and he was not found before his tank ran out of air, violations for which his department and Rock Falls Fire Department, and the two cities were fined a combined $36,000.

On Sept. 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made public its final incident report outlining errors made during the fire.

Shaw Local News Network obtained the initial report in April and reported on its findings.

The fines were levied on Sterling and Rock Falls for “lapses” in each department’s policies and procedures that contributed to Ramos’ death from “asphyxia caused by inhalation of products of combustion due to a structure fire,” the report said.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.