VIDEO: Blackpool lad who became an American hero

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Tributes have poured in for a former Blackpool schoolboy who became an all-American hero.

Captain Carl Murray grew up on the Fylde coast, but left aged 18 and later joined the Vancouver Fire Department in Washington, USA.

The stars and stripes is raised between two fire engine ladders in tribute to Captain Carl Murray, who died in America last month, aged 51. Below: Cpt Murray in his fire service uniform and, right, in his days at Warbreck High School.

The stars and stripes is raised between two fire engine ladders in tribute to Captain Carl Murray, who died in America last month, aged 51. Below: Cpt Murray in his fire service uniform and, right, in his days at Warbreck High School.

He served the department for 21 years before his death, aged 51, last month.

According to US newspaper The Columbian, Mr Murray’s death has been classified as a “line of duty death” because firefighters are exposed to “toxic products of combustion” that are known to cause cancer.

His mother, June Murray, has paid tribute to her “lovable, cheeky boy”.

Mrs Murray, from Cleveleys, said: “He loved his job and had the respect and love of his colleagues.”

Cpt Murray in his fire service uniform.

Cpt Murray in his fire service uniform.

Mr Murray developed a love of football at Devonshire Road Infant and Junior School, where he also excelled at athletics.

Later, when he was a pupil at Warbreck High School, he played for the school football teams.

Mrs Murray, 80, said: “He loved all sports but football was his first love, but living near the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club he tried out and excelled in all types of sports including athletics, kayaking, boxing and judo.

“In all his sporting achievements Carl won medals and awards in everything he attempted. His trainers and teachers said if he concentrated on one sport he would have been a world class athlete.”

Cpt Murray in his days at Warbreck High School.

Cpt Murray in his days at Warbreck High School.

Mr Murray played football for Blackpool School Boys as well as in the Sunday football league, playing for Mechanics and Belle Vue.

He left Blackpool for the Isle of Man after a brief spell at Blackpool and The Fylde College, and in his late teens joined the Royal Navy.

He worked on the helicopters as an air electrical engineer and serviced aircraft on the Ascension Islands during the Falklands War.

But his ambition was to become a firefighter in America, where his father Stephen was living, and after a lot of determination and additional schooling he made it.

Mrs Murray said even when her son’s cancer took hold and he was put on desk duties, he could still be seen training new recruits.

Mr Murray passed away at home in Vancouver on July 30, leaving wife Wendy, children Hailey, Olivia, Quinn and Sophie, grandson Maddox, his parents, sister Nicola and brother Simon.

His funeral was held in Vancouver last Monday with a traditional fire service honour featuring bagpipes, honour guards, casket watchmen and a flag ceremony.

Mr Murray’s son, Quinn, said: “He put others before himself.
“He was the best dad a son or daughter could ask for and I wouldn’t trade the time I had with him for the world.

“Even though he has gone, he lives on with his legacy.”

Mr Murray’s brother, Simon, added: “Carl loved his family, and this love was only matched by the love of his job and the friends he met along the way.

“We all miss Carl, but he is not going to be forgotten.”

Vancouver Battalion Chief Rick Steele said Mr Murray’s death had left a “tremendous hole in our hearts”.

A memorial service will be held in Blackpool in January for his friends and family on the Fylde coast.

Video created by US newspaper The Columbian

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