PHOTOS: Thousands Mourn Firefighter

Mark Falkenhan of the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Co. died while battling a blaze in Hillendale. He was a former Baltimore County Fire Department member and was recently employed by the U.S. Secret Service.

Thousands of mourners from across the state and the nation arrived at Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in north Baltimore to pay respects for fallen firefighter Mark Falkenhan

The 11 a.m. funeral was expected to attract some 3,000 people and hundreds of fire trucks and other apparatus. 

The 43-year-old Lutherville volunteer firefighter from Middle River died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained while fighting a four-alarm apartment fire in Hillendale.

Diverse arrays of fire companies were represented at the funeral. Trucks from such companies as Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company in Harford County and Bay District Volunteer Fire Department in California, Md., were parked along the northbound lanes of Charles Street. The street was closed south of Northern Parkway to make room for the trucks and the funeral procession.

Several firefighters at the scene said they came to pay their respects to Falkenhan out of a sense of honor. 

"It's a tradition and everyone is here to support [each other]. It's kind of an unwritten rule if you're not working – you're at a funeral," Baltimore City firefighter John Henderson said.

Ryan Dumond, a probationary firefighter with the Washington D.C. Fire and EMS Department, attended the funeral with more than a dozen other probationary firefighters from that department.

"It's all about the brotherhood. When one firefighter dies, that's a brother or a sister that you've lost. Everyone cares for each other," Dumond said. "In our profession there's that risk and there's that danger, so we all like to look after one another."    

Luke Thomas, a firefighter with the U.S. Naval Academy Fire Department, said the loss of a firefighter is felt throughout the community 

"[It affects] not just one department but [firefighters] as a whole," Thomas said.

Brian Brendel, battalion chief for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, led a group of drummers and pipers Monday that traveled from as far as New Jersey to honor Falkenhan.

Playing pipes has been a long-standing tradition for fire companies when honoring the fallen, he said. 

"It's a tradition that we pipe for the casket while it's in the open air," he said. 

And so the group played when Falkenhan's casket arrived, and again when it left for its burial place at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Tim fairley January 25, 2011 at 03:20 PM
What a great way to honor a fallen hero. I'm glad I was able to be there.
john dani January 25, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Another fallen brother who loved his job my prayers to his family and friends you will never b forgoten brother.john dani carson city,nv
Karen January 25, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Great photos. God Bless this fallen hero and be with every other fire fighter out there. The hood ornament photo and comment were a tad inappropriate. There is absolutely nothing that is light hearted about the loss of a fire fighter. This occasion is nothing but somber.
Steven Muccioli July 29, 2011 at 03:37 AM
I just added 20 more photos sorry they weren't sooner,I didnt know patch at the time,but they are here now,Mark I didnt get to meet you but you were a well loved person who trained firefighter recruits,put that fire out,save that person from a burning building and to cut cars,died a hero just saving another life before yours was taken,you had emails from as far as France and Germany to show condolences to your family and company,And had people as far as Kentucky at your funeral,to show support,and say farewell to a gone but not forgotten funeral.
Steven Muccioli July 29, 2011 at 04:03 AM
P.S,I also went to the viewing,saw some friends who were a volunteer from the company I volunteer with or an instructor I knew,This was my first firefighter funeral and my breath was taken back for a minute,not just to see the so many firefighters that showed the fire company,Family,and friends support,But also showed the Fire Company is your 2nd family when you join,and going down 83 was even more of a why we support each other im tearing just remembering that old fire engine pulling up with that casket up to the cathedral's entrance,and the firefighters pulling the casket off into the entrance was just a gruesome reminder that this isn't the safest job in the world. but it doesn't deter me away to do what I've wanted to do since a young lad,and that was to be a firefighter
Stephanie Keirn August 30, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Wish those helicopters could've gotten pictures of the procession. It was huge. I heard later that when the first people arrived at the site, there were still people leaving the church-Wouldn't surprise me...
Steven Muccioli August 31, 2011 at 01:45 AM
yes,When I was on our Engine we were close to the end of the line,and as we were passing the church to the grave site people were still coming out,it was a huge turnout,
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