State ceremony honors Hartbank at fire academy

May 11, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Firefighter Clarence "Speed" Hartbank lost his life in the line of duty. Now the state is honoring him with ceremonies Saturday afternoon.

This year's Wyoming Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service focuses on the late Fremont County Fire Protection District Deputy Chief. Ceremonies begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at

the Wyoming Fire Academy in east Riverton.

"It's important to honor and recognize our fallen brothers and sisters for the service they provided to their communities and the ultimate sacrifice they made for that service," said Ian Kraft, state training program manager at the Wyoming Fire Academy.

Nick Hudson, fire administrator for the Lander Volunteer Fire Department, conducts Saturday's ceremony, which is expected to draw firefighters and dignitaries from across Wyoming.

Hartbank, 79, died in January 2015 after suffering burns Sept. 10, 2104, while fighting a fire on Triangle Ranch Road northwest of Riverton.

Hartbank was Fremont County Fire Protection District Deputy Chief. He had risen through the ranks of the Morton-Kinnear Fire Department, holding nearly every major position there, including chief. He was a volunteer firefighter for more than 50 years.

In addition to his many local duties, Hartbank also was a member of the Missouri Valley Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Wyoming Fire Chiefs Association, The Wyoming Firefighters Association and the Wyoming Rural Firemen's Association.

When it came to establishing the countywide fire district, Hartbank was described as instrumental in the processes and was a district leader and mentor since the beginning.

Hartbank will be the 51st Wyoming firefighter to be honored at the fallen firefighter memorial.

The memorial was constructed at the Wyoming Fire Academy in 1990. The concept was proposed to state associations after a heavy fire season in 1987. Several firefighters lost their lives in 1988.

The free event is open to the public and will include a guest speaker, Park County Fire Warden Russell Wenke, who began his career in 1977.

, including serving as fire marshal for 26 years.

"People who have never attended such a service before can expect to see several fire service personnel, apparatus, honor and color guards, and family members participating in a traditional fire service memorial ceremony," Kraft said. "That includes such things as bag pipes, flag-lowering rituals, honoring speeches, gun salutes, reading of the fallen firefighter names, and a bell ceremony."

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