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'You know that they're heroes': St. Louis community remembers fallen firefighter

"Who else just jumps and runs into a fire? I know several firemen and I have great respect for them," said Connie Benson.

ST. LOUIS — Support continued to grow on Friday for a fallen St. Louis firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty, on Friday.

That included people who knew 33-year-old Benjamin Polson, those he served with, and even strangers.

"You know that they're heroes. Who else just jumps and runs into a fire? I know several firemen and I have great respect for them," said Connie Benson.

Connie Benson said it is something no one can get used to, watching someone who puts their life on the line every day lose their life.

Benson's house sits beside the vacant building in North St. Louis where a roof collapsed, killed Polson, and injured one of his fellow crew members.

"It was heartbreaking. I mean we all stood by and watched it and teared up,” Benson continued.

A day later, family, friends, firefighter agencies and even strangers like Benson remembered Polson for the ultimate sacrifice.

Governor Mike Parson tweeted "Firefighter Benjamin Polson's strong and true service will never be forgotten."

Mayor Tishaura Jones also tweeted "Our city prays for their family and our entire department after this devastating tragedy."

"We know that we can't bring back Ben but we know that we can try to make a little bit of comfort for his family," said Kirkwood Fire Chief Jim Silvernail.

Polson served the St. Louis Fire Department for two years.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Missouri and a Master's in Business Administration two years later Drury University.

Fighting fire ran through Polson’s flood blood.

He was the son of retired St. Louis fire captain Jim Polson.

The two were captured shaking hands during a graduation ceremony in the summer of 2021.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Firefighter Polson. Visitation will be held Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kutis Funeral Home. The funeral mass will take place Thursday, Jan. 20 starting at 10 a.m. It will begin at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis before moving to the Resurrection Cemetery for the inurnment.  

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