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Funeral for a Firefighter

To the strains of a bagpipe band and the sounds of a helicopter above, thousands of firefighters converged upon West Roxbury yesterday.

They gathered to mourn one of their own, Boston fireman Paul Cahill, who died in a restaurant fire last week.

WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness has this report on his funeral.

TEXT OF STORY

CHAPLAIN DAN MAHONEY [There are very few professions if any that call for racing towards danger rather than away from it]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT CHAPLAIN DAN MAHONEY ADDRESSED A SEA OF BLUE UNIFORMED FIRE FIGHTERS AT HOLY NAME CATHOLIC CHURCH YESTERDAY.

CHAPLAIN DAN MAHONEY [what is it about the death of a firefighter in the line of duty that touches us in a way that other tragedies do not]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: PAUL CAHILL DIED LAST WEEK WHEN THE ROOF COLLAPSED AT THE WEST ROXBURY RESTAURANT WHERE HE WAS FIGHTING A FIRE.

[bell ringing]

[SOUND OF SERVICE: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.....Christ is born again]

[lower music after "born again" and bring under next tracks]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: CAHILL WAS 55. HE SERVED IN THE NAVY AND WORKED AS AN ELECTRICIAN BEFORE JOINING THE BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT. HE WAS 40 WHEN HE STARTED AND QUICKLY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE JOB. . HIS COLLEAGUES DESCRIBED HIM AS A COURAGEOUS AND AGGRESSIVE FIREMAN, EXACTLY THE TYPE OF GUY THEY WANTED AT THE FRONT OF THE LINE, HOLDING THE NOZZLE OF THE FIRE HOSE AND BEATING BACK THE BLAZE.

UNION PRESIDENT ED KELLEY.

ED KELLEY: [Paul's reputation around the firehouse....brought everybody back to what's important] [Time: 13 s]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: PAUL CAHILL COOKED FOR HIS COLLEAGUES AT THE FIREHOUSE ACCORDING TO CAPTAIN STEPHEN KEOGH.

STEPHEN KEOGH: [Paul was so animated.....Paul's meals were the best] [Time: 24s]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: AT HIS OTHER HOME...IN SCITUATE.... PAUL CAHILL HAD A WIFE AND THREE KIDS. HIS BROTHER JAMES CAHILL DESCRIBED HIM AS A FAMILY MAN.

JAMES CAHILL: [Paul, he was a man's man...he had no problem with public displays of affection....very deeply] [Time: 18 s]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: BUT CAHILL, WHO GREW UP IN DEDHAM, WAS ALSO DEVOTED TO PUBLIC SERVICE, LIKE HIS FAMILY BEFORE HIM. HIS FATHER AND UNCLE WERE BOSTON POLICE OFFICERS, HIS MOTHER A REGISTERED NURSE.

JAMES CAHILL: [we all need to remember that Paul was compelled to act the way he did the night of the fire because that's who he was and how he chose to live] [Time: 9s]

BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS: FELLOW FIREMAN WARREN PAYNE ALSO DIED IN THE WEST ROXBURY FIRE. HE WILL BE HONORED AT HIS FUNERAL TODAY IN DORCHESTER.

(AMAZING GRACE ON THE BAG PIPES)

FOR WBUR, I'M BIANCA VAZQUEZ TONESS.

This program aired on September 7, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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