West Chester community raises money for sons of firefighter who lost his life to cancer

Posted at 12:09 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 04:46:20-04

WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A West Chester Township firefighter who lost his life to occupational kidney cancer was honored at a fundraiser Sunday evening.

Tim Burns worked at the West Chester Fire Department for 19 years. Those who knew him say firefighting was in his blood. As Burns’ family prepares for his funeral, the community came together Sunday to raise money for his twin boys.

Shannon Hayden knew Burns for over 20 years. They met when they were firefighters in Colerain Township. Hayden says Burns was a hero.

“He loved the fire service,” Hayden said. “ He would do anything in the world for the fire department and the people of the community.”

Rick Prinz, West Chester Township fire chief, said the fundraiser was planned when Burns was still alive. It was Burns’ goal, he said, to raise money to help send his sons to college.

“At this point, it’s more invigorating to us to be able to put on this event and get people out here,” Prinz said.

Firefighters and their families came out in full support. Hayden said that’s just what firefighter families do.

“This is brotherhood,” Hayden said. “We will take care of our own people and Tim would have been here … God rest his soul. Tim would have been here with bells on his toes.”

Burns was not only a well-known firefighter. Many in the community knew him as a kind, genuine person.

"Tim’s service to the community is something that will never be forgotten because he was able to relate to everybody on a human level,” Prinz said. “He was just one of those guys no matter where he went, he would always just sit and talk to somebody.”

Burns’ visitation is 4 p.m. Monday at Springdale Church of the Nazarene. His visitation is open to the public.