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Firefighters, city remember Oscar Armstrong III on 14th anniversary of on-duty death

Posted at 3:17 PM, Mar 21, 2017

CINCINNATI -- It's been 14 years since Cincinnati firefighter Oscar Armstrong III was killed in the line of duty, but his memory lives on with the purpose of protecting today's firefighters and recruits.

In 2003, Armstrong was at a house fire at a home on Laidlaw Avenue in Bond Hill. He encountered a flashover -- a very dangerous phenomenon when a room is quickly engulfed in flames due to chemicals on the walls, floor or furniture in a home.

Armstrong was 25 when he died; he left behind two children and a pregnant fiancée.

There's a plaque in his honor at CFD's Engine 9, but District Fire Chief Greg Potter said Armstrong's legacy lives on in safety practices and training.

"We have a recruit class of 41 in today," Potter said. "The training staff took them out in front of the building (where Armstrong died) at the exact time that Oscar died. We showed them the building and explained to them what happened. This is why we do so much training -- to prevent these accidents from happening. We strive to get better."

Today, Cincinnati Fire Department recruits spend time in a flashover simulator, a trailer of sorts that mimics the experience a firefighter would have should they encounter a flashover.

Potter said firefighters are also trained to recognize the signs of a flashover and the equipment needed to combat it.

In 2008, the City of Cincinnati built a memorial for Armstrong outside station 9. In August 2016, the memorial was rededicated after a group of boy scouts worked to update the memorial area.