Firefighters Fountain and Memorial
In 1988, six firefighters died suddenly in a huge explosion. The community was spurred by this tragic event to support the campaign to create a memorial tribute to all firefighters that resulted in the fountain and the original memorial. This fountain is located at the south end of Penn Valley Park is a collaborative effort from many private sources to pay tribute to the men and women of the city’s firefighters and memorialize those who have given their lives in the line of duty. The fountain features two bronze figures surrounded by 48 streams of water falling into an 80-foot-wide basin.
A bronze larger than life sculpture of a firefighter with his head bowed is directly to the north of the fountain. Behind the sculpture is a curved stone wall with bronze plaques that was the memorial, the plaques listed the names of fallen firefighters, until it was replaced with the new, updated memorial. The names of fallen firefighters were etched into the tops of the granite pedestals. The sculptures in the fountain and of the mourning firefighter were created by Kansas City artist Tom Corbin.
An updated memorial was installed in 2015. The new memorial was designed by artist Barbara Grygutis. It sits between the fountain and the old memorial. It consists of two large, segmented curved walls made of perforated aluminum sitting on top of low limestone walls. Solid aluminum plaques are mounted on the north sides of the walls. The plaques list the names of the firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. With the new memorial, the granite pedestals of the old memorial have been topped with metal plaques detailing significant moments in the history of the Kansas City Fire Department.
The perforated aluminum panels are lit from inside with blue LED lights. The blue light is intended to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere, and to symbolize knowledge, integrity, seriousness, reliability and trust.