COLUMBIA — The memorial service for Columbia Fire Department's Lt. Bruce Britt will be a large-scale event involving many firefighters' traditions, Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Thirty-two firetrucks from around the state, including nine firetrucks from Columbia Fire Department, will be in the memorial procession that will travel along Business Loop 70, Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard, Fraizer said.
The procession is scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., and end at The Crossing, 3615 Southland Drive.
Columbia Police Department Sgt. Joe Bernhard said the Traffic Division of the Columbia Public Works Department will provide an officer at every intersection of the procession, but traffic could still be interrupted.
Once the procession arrives at The Crossing, Fire Department personnel and firefighters from around the state will stand outside the church and form a "sea of blue" to honor Britt's memory, Fraizer said.
Along with the 1,600 seats in the church, The Crossing will have additional areas where people can stand. Columbia Public Works Department spokesman Steven Sapp said 860 parking spaces will be available at the church, and he highly encourages carpooling.
The Fire Department is planning to provide a live feed of the service in the church, as family has requested that no media be filming inside the church. (The live feed is set to begin 30 minutes prior to the service. You can watch it here.)
Fraizer said the memorial service is scheduled to end around 11:30 a.m. He encouraged drivers to show respect for Britt by pulling off to the right of the road during the procession and waiting until all vehicles have passed.
Fraizer said firefighters from Jefferson City and the Boone County Fire Protection District will be manning city fire stations while fire department personnel participate in the memorial service.
Williamsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brian Mendenhall said he will come to the memorial service to honor Britt's memory with three other firefighters from Williamsville. Williamsville firefighters will be present with a firetruck at 7:30 a.m. at Cosmo Park, to participate in the procession.
Britt started his firefighting career at the Williamsville Volunteer Fire Department. Although Mendenhall joined the fire department after Britt left,, he plans on making the trip for the memorial service.
"You sometimes wonder why you put yourself in such extreme situations," Mendenhall said. "That's a special thing that we have as firefighters that pushes us to extreme limits to save a person's life."
Another service will also be held at 10 a.m. March 8 at the Williamsville United Methodist Church.
Supervising editor is Elise Schmelzer.