BAXTER SPRINGS, Ks. — On October 15th the Baxter Springs fire department responded to a fire.
Lieutenant Malachi Brown was injured and was transferred to a burn unit in Springfield where he later passed away.
His actions to put himself before others touched many lives across the four states.
The community rallied around him and his family when they needed it most, and this was on full display at Lieutenant Brown’s funeral.
“We would really like to say thank you to all the community that’s came through to help our department out, help the family out,” says Gunnar Wixon, Baxter Springs Fire Chief.
It was a somber day Sunday afternoon.
Families, friends and first responders from across the four states gathered to pay their respects to Lieutenant Malachi Brown, who gave his life in the line of duty.
“He was heavily involved in everything we would do. He would always take the time to go to training, to volunteer his time to help us, whether it was for community events, anything the community needed,” says Wixon.
Since October the community has been by the side of Lieutenant Brown’s family and fellow firefighters.
“Fire service throughout the nation and even worldwide is a brotherhood, so whenever a fire fighter does die in the line of duty, it hurts us all,” says Mark Cannon, Interim Joplin Fire Chief, “And seeing the community of Baxter Springs out, watching the precession roll through town was very emotional.”
His story touched the lives across the four states and beyond.
In Kansas, all state flags were flown at half staff in his honor.
“It’s really special for us to know that everybody across Kansas is honoring Malachi,” says Wixon, “Really just seeing the respect across the state and really the four state area, it’s really just been so impactful to all of us.”
Even fire departments from beyond the community have paid their respects.
“We’ve also been contacted by fire departments all over the United States, just to tell us their condolences,” says Wixon, “Anytime somebody is in a time of need, that entire brotherhood just bands together and lifts all of us up.”
With Lieutenant Brown laid to rest, the Baxter Springs fire department is working to honor his memory.
“We’re looking at retiring his fire number that he had for us,” says Wixon, “We’re building a new fire station and with that we’re thinking of doing some things at the gym to help remember him by and have him help push us forward and train harder.”
We here at KSN and KODE offer our condolences to the Baxter Springs community, Lieutenant Brown’s family, including his wife Jessica and three children.