IMATU has learned with shock and sadness of the death of one of our members and a respected municipal employee, Mr Henry Knox form the Wonderboom fire station in Pretoria.
The firefighter who drowned while searching for two people in Centurion on 17 January 2011, died before he was able to receive an award for saving two people from the Apies River in Pretoria on December 16 last year.
Henry Knox, 42 – who was sucked in by a whirlpool while searching for missing flood victims in the Hennops River in Centurion – was so dedicated to his work that he had his first proper holiday in 18 years in November last year, according to his fiancée, Francis van Vuuren.
Knox and his colleagues, as well as several police divers were searching on Monday for seven people who, according to a witness, were swept away by floodwaters after heavy morning rain.
Experienced, exhausted rescue workers from the Tshwane fire brigade cried openly and hugged each other on the banks of the Hennops River in Irene, Centurion, after he died trying to save flood victims.
“Henry has been a fireman for nearly 24 years. Everyone knew him. He’s the first firefighter from Pretoria to die while on duty. Many a grown man is in tears today”, said Johan Pieterse spokesperson of the Tshwane Metro.
“My brother was a very special man who absolutely lived for the fire department and to save the lives of others,” said Donn Knox at his brother’s house in Dorandia in northern Pretoria.
Henry’s burial is on Friday 14 January 2011.