Firefighters and their families gathered at the Cambridge fire headquarters on Saturday to unveil a new memorial that will serve as a reminder to those men and women who have served in the line of duty.

The memorial rock garden has the names of firefighters who have either died in the line of duty, or from occupational diseases.

After gathering around the memorial families took turns laying flowers beside the names of their loved ones who they have lost.

President of the Cambridge Professional Firefighters Association Chris Davidson says that people don’t realize the occupational hazards that firefighters face.

“There’s certain cancers that firefighters get. We continue to have better protective equipment if we can, and look into the reasons why, but right now we don’t have an answer for all those,” he said.

Ransom Walker lost his father to bladder cancer that was attributed to his job as a firefighter.

“They run towards danger when everybody else is running away,” says Walker. “You absorb those toxins over many years.”

Jeff Deemert also lost his father to cancer that was related to working as a firefighter, he is thankful for that those firefighters are remembered.

“He just loved the job, he loved coming to work, he loved the guys that he worked with and this is just special because it shows the extra appreciation for the sacrifice he gave,” said Deemert.

Five names are on the memorial currently, Davidson hopes that other families can use the spot as a place to grieve a loved one or hold a ceremony in their honour.

With reporting by Carina Sledz