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Led by a drummer and bagpipe player, a nearly three-block long procession marched the approximately 1.5 kilometres from Weledeh school to Yellowknife Community Arena, for Lieut. Cyril Fyfe's funeral, Monday. - Aaron Whitfield/NNSL photo

Yellowknifers line streets for funeral march

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 30/05) - Beginning at Weledeh school, a funeral procession almost three blocks long followed the snap of a snare drum and the haunting skirl of bagpipes all the way to the Yellowknife Community Arena.

Firefighters from St. John's Nfld. to Vancouver B.C., hospital staff in pastel-coloured scrubs and Yellowknife RCMP marched the approximately 1.5 kilometres.

Many marchers wore black ribbons in memory of fallen firefighters Cyril Fyfe and Kevin Olson. The men died after a shed roof collapsed on them while they were fighting a fire March 17.

Families, couples of all ages stood silently arm-in-arm, or side-by-side behind a barrier of yellow tape as the rap of the snare drum echoed along Franklin Avenue. Few words were spoken.

As an emergency room doctor, Rahul Khosla understands the risks firefighters take when called to work.

"The tragedy of showing up for work, and not coming home is something that hits me very hard," said Khosla, who was standing on the side of the road as the march began. He eventually joined the procession.

Others came out to show their appreciation.

"These people, we take them very much for granted until something like this happens and it gets us thinking about the other side of the situation," said Herb Castle, standing with his wife Ashley just before the march began at 1 p.m.

At 53rd Street, the snare drum fell silent and the procession stopped. A lead member of a Calgary Fire Department honour guard commanded a salute for Fyfe's family and close friends, standing at the side of the road.

Draped in City of Yellowknife flag, Fyfe's casket was wheeled in as "The Wind Beneath My Wings" played on an electric keyboard.