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Safety complex to honor fallen firefighter

FAIRBURY -- A Livingston County Community is making history. Ground is being broken on a state-of-the-art fire safety complex.
FAIRBURY -- A Livingston County Community is making history. Ground is being broken on a state-of-the-art fire safety complex. But, leaders say it's more than just bricks and mortar; it's a tribute to a man who gave his life, keeping others safe. Kim Behrens explains.

Since the time he was little, Brian Munz knew he wanted to be a member of the Fairbury Fire Department.

"He always wanted to do that. And they bent the rules a little bit so he could come on at a younger age."

Shortly after high school, Munz joined the force, ready and willing to tackle any challenge at hand. In 2008, at the age of 24, he passed away responding to a house fire.

"This loss was a horrible accident. Should never have happened. But, we want to continue to train in his honor."

That's why, five years later, plans for a brand new fire safety complex are finally a reality; the building, to be named after Brian.

"They're out there for us everyday."

"Long after I'm gone, they'll know there was a firefighter named Brian Munz who died helping other people."

The more than 8,000 square foot facility will have space for training exercises, extra equipment and upgraded technology. All qualities the Munz' family says Brian would have wanted.

"The firemen told me, after he passed away, he had a real interest in keeping the fire station neat and kept up. One time, one of the letters fell off the back of the building and he was really upset. They had to make sure they got that letter back up there."

But, the family says, perhaps the best part of the new complex is enhancing safety for future crews.

"Something good is coming out of all that's happened for the firemen, and that Brian would just be so proud."

Knowing their son's legacy will continue to live on is a gift this family is finding comfort in.

"There's a lot of different places around Fairbury I go to be close to Brian."

"I think this firehouse is a place, sometimes I go look in the windows to be close. I suspect, he will be."

The new building is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
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