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Lt. DeVoe remembered as “hero” by firefighter brotherhood at memorial service

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- As the sounds of "Amazing Grace" played through bagpipes inside the Capitol Forum complex, firefighters wiped tears from their eyes as they remembered their colleague, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Lt. Dennis H. DeVoe.

Hundreds of fire companies from across Pennsylvania, including groups from Baltimore and Boston, paid tribute to DeVoe on Friday. Following a processional walk which led firefighters and trucks down State Street in Allison Hill, across the State Street Bridge, and around the Capitol Complex, family, friends, firefighter "brothers" paid their respects at the Forum.

"We are a grieving city," said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse. "Denny DeVoe was a man who gave the ultimate sacrifice in his call to serve. He was a man of duty and discipline, who did not back away from tough and dangerous jobs, but instead, ran to them."

One by one, firemen and women walked up to DeVoe's casket, draped with an American flag, sitting center-stage at the Forum. Two pictures of a uniformed DeVoe lined both sides of the stage. Near the middle, a plaque with Pennsylvania's Keystone emblem was placed with the words written, "Lest We Forget."

Lt. DeVoe was remembered as a hero. Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline spoke about a fire call in early February where DeVoe and squadman Nate Martin "ran through a wall of fire" in a first-floor apartment to save a trapped man. As Enterline posthumously gave DeVoe an Award for Heroism, he choked back tears.

"Well done, good and faithful servant," Enterline said.

Enterline described DeVoe as a "true fireman," not a mediocre one. DeVoe graduated the fire academy at HACC on March 11, 1996. In a twist of cruel fate, 21 years later, to the day, was DeVoe's last day as a firefighter. As he was responding to a fire one night earlier, DeVoe was hit by an alleged intoxicated driver who then fled the scene.

DeVoe, 42, and a father of four, died a day later as a result of injuries sustained from the crash.

Police arrested Khanyae Kendall, 19, as the driver of the vehicle which hit DeVoe, saying she was intoxicated and driving a stolen car.

Prior to the service, Governor Tom Wolf consoled DeVoe's widow, Amy, along with the rest of the DeVoe family. Fellow Harrisburg firefighter Eric Jenkins sang a rendition of "Amazing Grace."

When he finished, he leaned into the microphone and said, softly, "Rest in peace, Denny."