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Fallen Billings firefighter honored in Laurel ceremony

Laurel Montana Firefighter Memorial
Laurel Montana Firefighter Memorial
Laurel Montana Firefighter Memorial
Posted at 7:08 PM, Sep 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 16:18:55-04

LAUREL — About 75 people were in Laurel Saturday afternoon to honor a Billings firefighter who died in the line of duty a half-century ago.

The ceremony at the Montana State Firefighters Memorial was to remember Orville Horton, who died responding to a warehouse fire on Sept. 7, 1969 at age 39.

Horton's name was added to a firefighter memorial wall, joining 74 others statewide who have died on the job.

"Losing a firefighter is the most difficult burden you can bear," said Billings Fire Battalion Chief Matt Hoppel, one of a handful of speakers at the event.

Other speakers included Ken Olson, a former Laurel mayor and retired volunteer firefighter, Billings Mayor Bill Cole and Robin Horton DeCaso, Horton's daughter.

DeCaso was joined by about a dozen of Horton's relatives who came to Laurel for the ceremony.

DeCaso said she was only 13 when her father died, and she remembered swelling with pride when anyone asked what her dad did.

Growing up, she, her parents and her two older brothers were always surrounded by firefighters, she said.

"Our family was much larger than the five of us," DeCaso said.

The hourlong ceremony included an honor guard and bagpipe players.