Harrisburg firefighter remembered for dedication, heroism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Firefighters from across the state gathered in the Forum Auditorium on Friday to honor Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Lieutenant Dennis DeVoe.

A procession passed by the front of the Capitol before continuing to the service that began at noon.

Photo Credit: Izanne Haak

Mayor Eric Papenfuse spoke at the service and called Devoe a man of duty and discipline, a protector of the city who will not only be missed by his fellow firefighters, but by the thousands of people who call Harrisburg home. He said the city owes Devoe a debt it can never repay.

Fire Chief Brian Enterline called Devoe a “true fireman” and a subtle and positive role model to all.

“Denny was never a mediocre firefighter just waiting for the next paycheck, sitting in a recliner, reading some off-topic magazine. He was always researching, reading, and working to make himself and the troops safer, smarter, and more proficient at our craft,” he said.

Enterline said there was “no task Devoe couldn’t do, no snotty hallway he couldn’t crawl, and no unaccounted for life he wouldn’t search for.”

He said Devoe’s courage and heroism were recently exemplified on a building fire at 1219 Kittatinny Street.

“Squad 8 under the command of Lt. Devoe arrived on scene just two minutes later and confirmed a working fire with neighbors screaming that there was a victim inside the building. It was without hesitation that Lt. Dennis Devoe and firefighter Nathan Martin crawled through a ball of fire to reach the trapped occupant on the first floor of the living room and successfully rescued them from the building,” Enterline said.

“It is for this successful rescue and without due regard to his own life that today we award Lt. Dennis H. Devoe the Award of Heroism,” he said. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

DeVoe, a 21-year veteran of the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, was headed to a house fire on March 10 when his vehicle was struck at the intersection of 14th and Walnut streets. The other driver was arrested for DUI and other charges.

Two girls died from injuries sustained in the house fire. Three-year-old Ashanti Hughes died Saturday and 10-year-old Savannah Dominick died Thursday.

Investigators have blamed the fire on a recharging hoverboard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating. It’s looked into more than 60 fires caused by hoverboard batteries. The deaths in Harrisburg are believed to be the first.

Devoe lived in Stewartstown, in southern York County. He was an active volunteer member of the Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company in Whiteford, Maryland and Citizens Volunteer Fire Company of Fawn Grove. He was also a past active volunteer member of the Eureka Fire Company in Stewartstown, according to a news release from the City of York Department of Fire/Rescue Services.

York fire officials said Devoe’s funeral service will be held Saturday at the Grace Fellowship Church of Shrewsbury, at 74 E. Forrest Ave. Visitation is open to the public and will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A service will follow at the church at 1 p.m. The burial will be private.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to 24-7 Commitment, an organization that provides resources that strengthen and encourage the marriages and families of firefighters, by visiting its website: www.247committment.org

Officials said due to the expected attendance and the limited space for vehicles, any department wishing to bring apparatus to the service should call York Deputy Fire Chief Chad Deardorff at (717) 779-9585 by no later than Friday at 3 p.m.

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