Albert Lea community mourns the loss of longtime firefighter to cancer

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(ABC 6 News) – The Albert Lea Fire department is mourning the loss of one of their own Saturday morning after a long courageous battle with cancer.

The department shared in a social media post, that Lieutenant Brett Boss had lost his courageous battle with cancer.

"Brett left an impact on this community that can’t be measured. Please keep Brett’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers."

Boss was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in December 2014.

According to the family’s Caring bridge page dated February 4:

"Brett fought cancer like a boss and was NED in November 2015. In the fall of 2020, cancer had come back with spots on the lung which required surgery and chemo treatments. Unfortunately, during the summer of 2021, cancer came back a third time in his brain. Doctors found more spots of cancer on his left side, by his heart, and in the lymph nodes this past fall. After doing a few chemo sessions, Brett now stopped treatments. Brett has FOUGHT SO HARD, and as we continue to pray for a miracle, Brett is resting at home with his loved ones by his side."

RELATED: House Approves Federal Firefighter Cancer Registry

ABC 6 News began reporting on an alarming number of cancer cases among firefighters in 2015.

Three firefighters from Albert Lea including Boss and two firefighters from Austin were all diagnosed with cancer within a span of a few years.

In 2016, Brett helped to spearhead legislation at the Minnesota State Capitol with the help of Albert Lea Representative Peggy Bennett.

In 2018, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith joined 30 other senators at the federal level to create a bipartisan Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which requires the CDC to track cancer cases among firefighters. It also provided millions of dollars for protective gear and extractor machines to wash clothes after every fire.

Albert Lea Representative Peggy Bennett issuing this statement, saying in part, "I was blessed and honored to get to know Brett and collaborate with him on firefighter legislation over the past number of years. Brett was relentless and persistent in his love for firefighting and for his desire to make firefighting safer for his fellow firefighters."

A Gofundme page has been created.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Crossroads Church in Albert Lea.