NEWBURYPORT– It is with heavy hearts Chief Christopher J. LeClaire and members of the Newburyport Fire Department announce the occupational line of duty death of Firefighter Brett Burkinshaw.
Firefighter Burkinshaw, 47, joined the Newburyport Fire Department as a call firefighter in May 2003, and became a full time member of the department in August 2010. Starting in July 2005, he also served as a reserve police officer for the Newburyport Police Department. He died on Thursday, July 1, after an approximately 19 month battle with brain cancer.
Firefighter Burkinshaw leaves behind a loving wife and daughter, as well as several family members.
“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 LeClaire said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time. 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.”
During his career with the Newburyport Fire Department, he also served as fire alarm assistant superintendent. An electrician by trade, 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.
Arrangements will be announced in the coming days, and Firefighter Burkinshaw’s funeral will be a formal firefighter funeral with full honors in recognition of his occupational line of duty death.
Firefighter Burkinshaw’s family asks that members of the media respect their privacy during this difficult time.