LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Louisville Division of Fire honored a fallen brother at Fire Engine 6 in Portland Tuesday.
Sergeant Timothy Groft died over the weekend from a battle with cancer. His death marks the first in Louisville to be considered a line of duty death since a new law passed in 2016.
"We gather here to honor our fallen comrade Sergeant Timothy Groft,” Fire Chief Gregory Frederick said at the beginning of the ceremony.
The ceremony was held at the fire engine where Groft last served. Family by blood and family by oath were there to pay their respects.
"He loved doing this. He loved these guys,” Sam Groft, Tim’s brother, said.
"He was a big brother to all of us. Hero,” Simon Groft, another brother, said.
Groft’s 15-year career with Louisville Fire paved the path for two of his four younger brothers, who also became Louisville Firefighters.
"I’m just so proud of my brother,” Sam Groft said.
"Tim was the best of us. He was such a great guy. He was a firefighter's firefighter,” Brian O'Neill, with the Department of Professional Firefighters, said.
He was a firefighter that was no stranger to tough battles – both on and off the clock. Unfortunately, a cancer diagnosis came as his final call.
"He met it head on, met it with dignity, and handled it better than anybody I know could have,” Simon Groft said.
Groft's death is considered a line of duty death. His cancer diagnosis connected to toxins his body absorbed while working inside those burning buildings.
The Bunting Ceremony included all of the honors – with the flag lowered to half-staff and the fire engine was draped to mark the department's mourning.
Each a fitting tribute for a man who lived to serve.
"The citizens of Louisville have lost a great man,” Frederick said.
The state will do a line of duty death investigation, and if it is approved, Groft’s next of kin will receive line of duty death benefits. That includes $80,000 and his son will get free tuition at any Kentucky public university.