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Lexington Fire Department Remembers Firefighter Killed In Line Of Duty

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LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) Today marks 14 years since Lexington Firefighter Brenda Cowan was shot in the line of duty and killed while responding to a domestic violence call.

"Unfortunately, she gave everything that she had," said Captain Ryan Hogsten. "She gave her life to protect others."

Hogsten told LEX 18 that to this day, you still hear stories about Cowan, stories about her giving her all for the job. He says that she's missed in the department every day and he hopes that her story will keep going and her memory will stay alive.

Captain Ryan Hogsten and Major Chris Harrod of the Lexington Fire Department were both off-duty during the call on February 13, 2004. Harrod worked alongside Cowan at Station 7. He said he wasn't there, but he heard everything on radio traffic.

"Everybody was just trying to piece things together and figure out what was going on. Brenda was a very special person, she carried her own weight," Harrod said. "She was very dependable. When she was at the station, everyone knew she was there." 

Hogsten said that Brenda Cowan was one of the hardest working firefighters he's ever worked with. 

"If you knew Brenda one day, then you knew her whole life story. She was just one of those people that was so intriguing, so fun to be around," said Hogsten. "She was a special person, she really was."

Cowan and fellow firefighter Jim Sanford were both shot at the home of Pat Hutchinson after Hutchinson had already shot and killed his wife, Fontaine. Hutchinson eventually pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the charges. 

Brenda Cowan was the first black woman to join the Lexington Fire Department. Harrod and Hogsten said that the department will never forget her legacy and her sacrifice. 

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