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Families, Firefighters Remember Men Who Died Trying to Rescue Boy

Updated: 12/24/2013 6:35 PM
Created: 12/24/2013 4:16 PM KAALtv.com
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 News) -- Sixty years ago Tuesday two Rochester firefighters died when they fell into Silver Lake trying to save a little boy. Dozens gathered to remember them Christmas Eve, including their family members.

Each year the Rochester Fire Department gathers to remember, Ambrose Riley and Stanley O’Brien, who died trying to save a nine year old boy back in 1953.

"It's just important to have them remembered,” said Annie Riley.

For Annie Riley the daughter of Ambrose and Jerry O'Brien the son of Stanley, that Christmas Eve will never be forgotten.

"I was 14 I can tell you exactly where I was," said O’Brien.

The story of their sacrifice is one that hits home with the firefighters that serve the city today.

"Every day they stand ready to save lives and that's exactly what Stanley O'Brien and Ambrose Riley did in 1953," said Chief Steve Belau.

For them this memorial is an important reminder.

"They represent the honor, bravery, courage, and the valor that exists in every firefighter to this day, so it's to remember their sacrifice they made and to remind ourselves why we do what we do," said Chief Belau.

Even though hearing the story is tough on the family, being with the Rochester Fire Department on this day means so much to them.

"So proud of these guys, my dad was my hero and these guys are my hero," said O’Brien.

Since Silver Lakes formation nine people have died in its waters. Chief Belau notes that firefighters today have much better gear and suits to help in those rescues.