Bells ringing at Coon Rapids church for fallen firefighters

Bells will ring at Epiphany Catholic Church, Coon Rapids, Sunday for the first annual bells across Minnesota for fallen firefighters in a state remembrance that honors those who died in the line of duty, coinciding with Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day and service at State Capitol.

The Coon Rapids Fire Department will join the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation and other organizations from across the state in the memorial service in St. Paul Sept. 29.

The first annual moment of remembrance will be at 1:58 p.m. at the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial on grounds of the State Capitol in St. Paul, just prior to the start of the second annual memorial service.

According to Coon Rapids Fire Chief John Piper, tolling the bells is a long-standing tradition with powerful meaning to firefighters.

Historically, the tolling of bells summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified other departments of a call for help and announced when a call was completed and the unit had returned to the station, Piper said.

“Today, the tolling of a bell during a memorial or funeral service signifies the honorable recognition of a firefighter who died in the line of duty, he said.

This year will mark the first time the Minnesota fire service has taken the tolling of the bells statewide with bells across Minnesota for fallen firefighters, Piper said.

In subsequent years, the tolling of the bells will occur on the last Sunday in September, which is Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day, he said.

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