Jefferson County firefighter loses cancer battle

Published: Aug. 19, 2018 at 2:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2018 at 10:15 PM EDT
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Captain Richard "Rick" Gossman (Source: Jefferson County Fire Service)
Captain Richard "Rick" Gossman (Source: Jefferson County Fire Service)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Fire Service is mourning one of their own who lost his battle with cancer.

Captain Richard "Rick" Gossman, 51, passed away after fighting cancer that is believed to be attributed to his role as a firefighter, the Jefferson County Fire Service said.

Gossman began as a volunteer firefighter for the former McMahan Fire District and served with them for 32 years until he medically retired in 2016.

The visitation and the funeral will be held at Ratterman Funeral Home. The visitation will be held August 20 from 2 p.m. through 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on August 21 at 11 a.m. The funeral service will only be open to family, friends and fire service personnel.

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Gossman is survived by his wife and children. His son Joshua is a firefighter for the Jeffersontown Fire Department.

Gossman's family issued the following statement:

As a lifelong firefighter, Captain Rick Gossman was committed to his family and the fellowship of all firefighters. He hopes that his battle with cancer will raise awareness, and spur research and support, of the special health risks firefighters face. While the public recognizes the immediate danger of fighting fires, there are other concerns to consider. For example, industrial fires result in intense and sometimes prolonged exposure to chemical clouds. Ongoing research into new and even better equipment, and long-term support and studies, can benefit the men and women who willingly put their lives on the line each day.

We trust that Rick's death means less suffering for future first responders.

Captain Gossman is the eighth Jefferson County Firefighter to die from cancer within the past three years and the fifth Jefferson County Firefighter whose cancer death is believed to be job-related cancer, according to the Jefferson County Fire Service. The Jefferson County Fire Service said they fully expect for Captain Gossman's death to be ruled a line of duty death by the Kentucky Fire Commission under the Kentucky Presumptive Firefighter Cancer Legislation.

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