A Maryland firefighter and paramedic who was fatally shot last year while on a call was among 95 men and women being remembered Sunday at the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial service in Emmitsburg.
Firefighters and officials from across the country attended the service, which is normally held at the site of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, also in Emmitsburg, but was moved to Knott Arena at Mount St. Mary’s University due to weather.
Lt. John “Skillet” Ulmschneider, 37, of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, was the only Maryland responder among those being remembered.
Ulmschneider was killed April 16, 2016, when he and a partner visited a home in Temple Hills to check on the welfare of man whose family members feared he was ill due to a diabetic condition.
Police said the man believed the home was being invaded and fatally shot Ulmschneider and also wounded his partner, Kevin Swain, of Sykesville. The man’s brother was also shot in the incident. Both he and Swain survived, and the occupant, Darrell Lumpkin, later pleaded guilty to a weapons charge.
At Sunday’s service, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said Ulmschneider had been a stellar student of the fire service with a passion for serving the community, and “was eager to learn and share his knowledge and experience with others.”
“He died too soon,” said Hoyer.
Ulmschneider was born in Baltimore, and his family later moved to Clinton, where he grew up. Members of his family, including his wife, Dawn, attended Sunday’s ceremony. Each family of those commemorated received a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is marking its 25th anniversary, though the firefighters memorial is older — it was built in 1981 on the grounds of the National Fire Academy.
Sunday’s event culminated a weekend of remembrance for 75 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2016, and another 20 who died in previous years. Other events included a candlelight service Saturday.
Many buildings and landmarks across the country were illuminated in recent days as part of a weeklong tribute to firefighters. In Maryland, the Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore, Government House in Annapolis and the Capital Wheel at National Harbor took part in that tribute.