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Restored truck used in tribute to late Las Vegas fire captain

Updated July 22, 2022 - 6:43 pm

Late Las Vegas fire Capt. Dennis Egbert told his loved ones that when he died he wanted to be carried away on a firetruck.

On Friday, Egbert’s wish came true during a special tribute for his service to the community.

The tribute for Egbert, 84, involved using a specially constructed Firefighter Memorial Transport truck to move his body from La Paloma Funeral Services, 5450 Stephanie St., to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2275 E. Tropicana Ave.

It is the first time the truck, which was remodeled to honor late Southern Nevada firefighters, has been used during a service.

“It was an amazing experience,” Egbert’s son, Cory, said Friday afternoon, adding “it was one of Dad’s wishes: ‘I always want to be carried off on a firetruck.’ As his kids, we always talked about how are we going to pull that off?”

The answer came in the form of the nonprofit Firefighter Memorial Transport.

“We got a firetruck, outfitted it, cleaned it up,” said Frank Pizarro, who founded the nonprofit that remodeled the vehicle, which has a lift to carry caskets.

The 1991 Pierce fire engine was purchased from a fire department in New Jersey in 2019.

Pizarro, a retired New York City firefighter who was a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11, said that after retirement he wanted to continue recognizing firefighters for their service, prompting the creation of the nonprofit.

“We have some veterans and first responders on board,” he said. “We cater to fallen heroes and their families.”

Pizarro said that the nonprofit is now working to craft similar vehicles used in services for fallen military members and law enforcement. Pizarro personally drove the truck during the services for Egbert, who served the city from 1962 to 1997.

Egbert’s daughter, Myrinda Miller, said her father followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a firefighter in Utah. She and Cory Egbert said their father responded to both the MGM Grand fire in Las Vegas, which killed 87 people in 1980, and also the Las Vegas Hilton fire in 1981, which killed eight.

He was a firefighter because he cared about the well-being of his fellow citizens in the Las Vegas Valley, they said.

“Always about service and helping others,” Cory Egbert said.

As Dennis Egbert’s body was escorted to the church on Friday, the vehicle was flanked by motorcycle riders from the Patriot Guard Riders of Nevada.

“It was emotional,” Pizarro said. “I think people should see that these guys have earned this honor. They should get it. This particular type of vehicle doesn’t exist here, so I wanted it to be something that heroes could have. It’s really for their families to see how they are respected at the end.”

For more information or to donate to the nonprofit, visit firefightermemorialtransport.org.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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