‘Remarkable, Kind Person': Newburyport Firefighter, 47, Dies After Long Cancer Battle

Brett Burkinshaw, who served for approximately 18 years on the Newburyport Fire Department, died on July 1 after a 19-month battle with brain cancer.

Newburyport Fire Department

The Newburyport Fire Department is grieving the loss of one of its longtime veteran firefighters.

Brett Burkinshaw, who served with the department for approximately 18 years, died on July 1 after a 19-month battle with brain cancer, fire officials announced Friday. He was 47.

"We, as a department, are devastated by this news and the loss of a longtime veteran of our department as well as the police department, who dedicated himself to public safety and serving this community," Chief Christopher LeClaire said in a news release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time."

The Massachusetts resident joined the Newburyport Fire Department as a call firefighter in May 2003, and became a full-time member of the department in August 2010.

Since July 2005, he had also been a reserve police officer for the Newburyport Police Department.

An electrician by trade, Burkinshaw also served as fire alarm assistant superintendent. He saved the City of Newburyport thousands of dollars by volunteering to repair wiring in emergency lights and sirens in both fire engines and police cruisers over the course of his career, according to LeClaire.

"Firefighter Burkinshaw was a remarkable, kind person who made a lasting impression on many people, as has been evident by the profound community support in the wake of his diagnosis," LeClaire said.

He is survived by a loving wife and daughter.

Burkinshaw's funeral will be a formal firefighter funeral with full honors in recognition of his occupational line of duty death, LeClaire said. Arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

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