Hundreds of firefighters saluted their fallen colleague Skyler Blackie from highway overpasses as the convoy carrying his remains returned to Truro.
“It’s quite a deep feeling actually,” said Valley-Kemptown firefighter Jason McRae. “When a brother falls, it’s an eye-opener.”
McRae was one of dozens of firefighters from across Colchester County and Halifax Regional Municipality who watched Blackie’s convoy drive down Hwy 102 just outside Truro, joined by members of the public on March 23. Other groups of firefighters and the public gathered on highway overpasses near Masstown, Debert, Belmont and on the Crowes Mills Road.
Flying Canadian flags, firefighters removed their helmets and saluted as the procession of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles escorting the hearse carrying Blackie’s remains passed underneath Onslow Road.
Firefighter Meghan Rushton described the public support as “very emotional.”
“It makes you stop and think of how precious life is, we’ve got to be there for one another,” said Rushton. “Because we’re a firefighting family, we came out to support [Blackie].”
Earlier on Saturday, Blackie’s remains were transported to a crematorium in Amherst, before being taken to the Mattatall-Varner Funeral Home in Truro.
Blackie, a career firefighter who served with the Truro Fire Service, passed away on March 20 following a training accident on March 9.
He first joined the Truro department in October 2013 and was known as a popular and well-liked team member, often involved with charity drives such as Movember.
Last summer Blackie was one of several firefighters who gave local children a tour of the fire station on Victoria Street, giving them some hands-on fun with the hoses.
His regimental funeral will be at 11 a.m. on March 30, at the Colchester Legion Stadium located on 14 Lorne Street in Truro.