Days after fallen firefighters were remembered in Edmonton, the city’s fire chief headed to the nation’s capital to pay tribute to similar fallen heroes.

“It’s important we reach out to those who have suffered losses and made the ultimate sacrifice,” fire Chief Ken Block told Metro yesterday. “Unfortunately, we’ve had two deaths in Edmonton so far this year.”

Life-threatening hazards stretch beyond the scope of smoke and flames, Block said, adding both men died from job-related cancers.

Toxic exposure from combustion-producers and hydrocarbons are directly related to eight cancers firefighters are prone to.

Advancing technologies and evolving safety is challenging but consistent, Block said. Raising awareness of toxins absorbed through the skin and decontamination is paramount for firefighters to ensure personal safety.

“The industry is really trying to get ahead of the curve,” he added. “But the nature of the profession is that firefighters will be exposed to toxic smoke — there’s really no way around that.”

Both cancer-stricken fallen members will be honoured in next year’s ceremony.