Firefighter Kevin Bell honored by family and friends - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Firefighter Kevin Bell honored by family and friends

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A Connecticut hero is gone, but never forgotten. Hundreds of people packed a Hartford church to honor a firefighter who died in the line of duty nearly one year ago. 

Kevin Bell died protecting his city last October, but his loved ones said his legacy will never be extinguished. 

Bell answered his final fire call on October 7, 2014. Long after his death, loved ones said they will continue honoring the heroic way he lived. 

"We're dealing, we're all here surviving, so that's all we can do," said Brea Bell, Bell's cousin.

Bell died heroically fighting a fire on Blue Hills Avenue last October. Now, nearly one year later, loved ones honor his life with a ceremony at Liberty Christian Center. 

I never thought I would see in my career this happen to one of my own," said Lieutenant Lionel Thompson. 

Thompson grew up with Bell in Hartford before they served together as firefighters. He said Bell was always a leader. 

"Growing up, it was hard to get out of drugs or gang activity. Kevin would be the person to bring everybody together," Thompson said. 

Fire investigators found multiple mistakes contributed to Bell's death and some department policies have already been changed, so part of his legacy will be making things safer for every Hartford firefighter. 

"This was a devastating loss for us, it made us look hard at ourselves. I think that one of things that will come out of this is we will become a stronger department," said Captain Helene Lynch of the Hartford Fire Department. 

Thompson wants to make sure Bell isn't only remembered for how he died. He was funny, free spirited and kind. After the ceremony, when the pageantry fades, the pain remains. 

"I'm going to always feel this, always," Thompson said. 

The Hartford Fire Department will hold a ceremony in Bell's honor on the one year anniversary of his death. 

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