Fire departments honor John Larson

Standing-room only in Scandia church

Scandia firefighters carried the urn as other departments lined the path from Elim Church.

Scandia firefighters carried the urn as other departments lined the path from Elim Church.

 

More than 500 people attended the funeral of Scandia Firefighter John Larson at Elim Lutheran Church in Scandia on Thursday, March 7.

Olinda Trail in front of the church was officially closed to accommodate the fire trucks and other vehicles from neighboring fire departments.

Four lines of fire department vehicles filled Olinda Trail between Oakhill Road and 209th Street.

Four lines of fire department vehicles filled Olinda Trail between Oakhill Road and 209th Street.

 

Trucks from the fire departments of Forest Lake, Marine, Centennial, Wyoming, Lindstrom, North Branch, Stacy/Lent, Taylors Falls, Chisago City, Osceola, Bayport, Oakdale, White Bear Lake, Woodbury, Lower St. Croix Valley, Lake Elmo, Hugo, Mahtomedi, Stillwater and Eagan were parked in front of the church.

Ambulances from Lakeview, North Memorial, and Regions were on hand.

Volunteers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department directed traffic.

Larson's helmet from the Scandia Fire Department.

Larson’s helmet from the Scandia Fire Department.

Larson, a fourth-generation fire fighter, was killed in a car crash on Feb. 28.

He had completed his night shift at the U.S. Postal Service in Eagan and was turning north from Minnesota Highway 36 onto Manning Avenue with a green arrow when his car was struck by a van.

The other driver, Kenneth Tougaw of Bayport, suffered minor injuries.

Tougaw’s record includes past citations for speeding, disobeying a traffic signal and passing into oncoming traffic.

Larson died at Regions Hospital as a result of the crash. He was 42 years old, and is survived by his wife Paula and children Jeremy, Chantel and Hannah.

Scandia firefighters lift John Larson's body onto the rescue truck for the ride to Rutherford Cemetery.

Scandia firefighters lift John Larson’s cremated remains onto the rescue truck for the ride to Rutherford Cemetery. 

At the funeral, in addition to the message by Pastor Scott Westphal, Larson’s brother Eric and Scandia firefighter Erich Kertzscher spoke in celebration of John’s life.

Bells were rung for Larson’s “last call,” a fire department tradition to recognize devotion to duty. A bagpipe player led the processional to carry the casket to the waiting Scandia fire rescue vehicle.

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