Thousands attend Britt memorial service

Firefighters from across the state attended the memorial service.

Hundreds of people said goodbye to Lt. Bruce Britt at Columbia's The Crossing Church. Family members and friends spoke on a stage covered with flowers and photos of the lost fireman.

Columbia Fire Chief Chuck Witt said, "Most of you know, Bruce is in heaven looking down upon us frustrated. He's extremely frustrated with all of this hoopla that's going on. I know in my heart that he is resting with the comfort of knowing that you will continue to perform in a method that honors him."

Speakers said Lt. Britt was a cowboy at heart and a practical joker. They said the 48-year-old was dedicated to his family at home and at work. Firefighters from across the state attended the memorial service. They said farewell in their traditional way. Firefighters rang a bell to honor his service.

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said, "Remember the man who rushed to help 18 innocent people, all threatened, and he gave his life. Lt. Britt is a hero we will never forget."

At the conclusion of the memorial service, the crowd left in silence. Retired Fire Chief Bill Markgraf said, â??This is a time for sadness and mourning. This is a time that none of us would really like to see.â??