About a thousand firefighters lined Burrard Street at noon Thursday to bid farewell to Cindy Kampmeinert, one of only seven women members of Vancouver’s fire department.

Kampmeinert, 41, died Dec. 18, five days after being struck by a bus while motorcycling in Goa on India’s west coast.

Alana Holdgate, wife of Vancouver Fire Chief Ray Holdgate, met Kampmeinert when she was still a child.

She had big brown eyes and a “smile from ear to ear that warmed your heart,” Holdgate said.

Friends described “Big Cins” as a risk-taker who was outgoing and caring ,and who handled situations with her own style. Alana Holdgate called her the “spice in our stew.”

On Dec. 13, an English tourist found Kampmeinert injured on the side of the road next to her wrecked motorcycle and transported her to four hospitals before she was finally admitted.

The tourist, 22-year-old Jessica Reese, attended the funeral at First Baptist Church. She received a lengthy standing ovation and was thanked by the chaplain of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

Kampmeinert immigrated to Canada with her family in 1972, but moved back to Holland as a young adult to study carpentry. She became a firefighter in 2000 and was the only woman in the organization’s honour guard.

The honour guard led the funeral procession and carried Kampmeinert’s hat from the church to the waiting hearse. It marched with a “blank file,” an empty space where Kampmeinert would have been.

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