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FIRST BLACK FIREFIGHTER OF VEGAS CITY HONORED IN CELEBRATION ON 80TH BIRTHDAY

The first Black firefighter of a city in Las Vegas was honored in a celebration on his 80th birthday, 8 News Now reports. 

The first Black firefighter of a city in Las Vegas was honored in a celebration on his 80th birthday, 8 News Now reports.

By BOTWC STAFF

They’re acknowledging his contributions to the city!

The first Black firefighter of a city in Las Vegas was honored in a celebration on his 80th birthday, 8 News Now reports. 

Joe Smith Jr. began his career as a Basic Magnesium Industrial (BMI) firefighter with the Henderson Fire Department in 1966, making history as the first and only Black firefighter and paramedic. 

Photo Courtesy of 8 News Now

He served with BMI for 17 years, providing aid in several crises, including the MGM fire of 1980. When BMI closed in 1983, Smith continued his career, serving with the Nevada Test site. He led his squad during high-pressure moments that included the explosions at Apex and Titanium Metals Corp., leading to his promotion as captain.

Now, Smith’s contributions are being honored; U.S. Congressman Steven Horsford recently requested the American flag be flown over the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in honor of Smith’s contributions to the City of Henderson.

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Photo Courtesy of 8 News Now

Last week, the Henderson Fire Department also honored Smith at its training center on his 80th birthday. Chief Shawn White presented Smith with a special edition honorary fire helmet in front of his family. The former Henderson firefighter was all smiles as he posed for pics.

Thank you for your service, Mr. Smith! Because of you, we can!

Photo Courtesy of Wade Vandervort

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This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas...

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