The community is mourning the loss of an City of Erie Firefighter.

The public has been in and out of the Bayfront Convention Center since noon to remember and pay respects. This morning, a processional was lead here as a long line of fire fighters, police and first responders followed. Currently, the private service is taking place inside of the building.

In 2005, Michael Smith joined the Erie Fire Department and was a part of Engine 11 on Erie’s west side. Smith’s co-workers describe him as a hard-working leader who would always give 110 percent. He lost his battle to cancer this past Sunday on February 26th. Smith suffered from occupational cancer and his death is considered a line of duty death.

Everyday first responders risk their lives when running in to burning buildings. The Assistant Chief of the Erie Fire Department said even though firefighters have self-contained breathing apparatus, the gear does not stop the smoke from getting on your body and can have long term effects.

“There’s that unseen thing in our environment that makes firefighters much more susceptible to cancers,” said Leonard Trott, Assistant Chief of the Erie Fire Department.He was a great firefighter; he was a great guy. He was well liked. He gave 110 percent to anything you asked him to do, and any situation that was put in front of him he did his best to take care of it. He was a good guy. “

The Assistant Chief of the Erie Fire Department said that the department will assist the family in any way they can from now until eternity.