Firefighters Plan Fundraisers to Remember Robeson

SCRANTON -- This Saturday will mark a decade since a Scranton fire captain was killed in the line of duty. His family and fellow firefighters are using the anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate his life and raise money for a statewide firefighters' memorial.

Even after 10 years, Capt. James Robeson is far from forgotten within the Scranton Fire Department. You'll see his name on almost every fire truck and his son is even among the ranks there.

So, those close to him are using the anniversary of his death to help memorialize other firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The garage at Scranton Fire Headquarters on Mulberry Street is like the heart of the department and its hero's name is pretty much everywhere -- Capt. James Robeson, often followed by one of the department's darkest days.

January 6, 2008, two people were killed in a house fire on Ash Street Capt. Robeson was killed while fighting it.

He was laid to rest a few days later with an audience of hundreds of brother firefighters and touching tribute from his son Ryan who now serves the city as a firefighter himself.

"10 years is a very long time," Ryan Robeson said. "You don't move on but you learn how to deal with it. And it's nice to, every now and then, take the time to remember and time to make sure we memorialize him the way he should be remembered."

Capt. Robeson's name is also on the Scranton's Firefighters Memorial outside City Hall but, the state of Pennsylvania does not have a memorial to fallen firefighters.

So, on the 10th anniversary of Capt. Robeson's death, his family will raise money to build such a memorial in Harrisburg.

"The memorial is something we certainly hope we never see another person's name put on the memorial, you know, I never want to see anybody go through this. But, you know what? It's the point where I can celebrate his life a little bit easier than I might have been able to a couple of years ago," said Capt. Robeson's widow Linda Robeson.

The department is selling t-shirts and tickets to a benefit on Saturday afternoon. It begins in the morning with a "Fire and Ice 5K" that will end at fire headquarters on Mulberry Street.

"First of all, Jimmy would love the party, so that would be first and foremost I think. But, you know what, he did, he honored especially after 9/11 or even the firefighters that had died in Boston and other places. He always mourned all of those and we bought T-shirts for everywhere. So, I think he would be happy that we are able to raise money and to honor all firefighters, not just him," Linda said.

You can still buy tickets to participate in the "Fire and Ice 5k" or the benefit party on Saturday.