A beautiful memorial to fallen fighters throughout Kansas City’s history, the Firefighters Fountain is located north of Country Club Plaza at 31st and Broadway. This construction and planning of this fountain was a result of a tragic event that occurred in 1988.
On November 29th, 1988, early in the morning, fire trucks were sent to a burning pickup truck at a construction site. They had been warned that there could be construction-related explosives at the site, but they were not aware that most of the explosives were inside the trailers located close to the burning truck. Six firefighters were killed instantly when the fire from the truck blew up the trailers.
This was a tragedy that was felt all through the city. An investigation of the fire revealed that it was arson causing the initial fire. The arsonists were involved in a dispute with the construction company.
A plan was then formed to honor all of the fallen firefighters that had served the city. It was only proper, in the city of fountains, to create a fountain to honor these fallen heroes. This project was funded by the Kansas City Parks Development, as well as through private donations.
The fountain was sculpted by Tom Corbin based upon the conceptual design of a local artist named Byron Gash. Larkin Aquatics created the fountain design . The city held a competition to determine who would design the bronze sculptures that would be the focal point of the fountain. Sculptor Tom Corbin won the competition; his work can be seen in several other fountains in the city.
The fountain features two large bronze firemen pointing a hose, surrounded by a basin on water that is 80 feet in diameter. This fountain holds 76,000 gallons of water, making it one of the largest in the city. The nozzles features on the fountain are from real fire hoses used on trucks, creating a stunning water spray, resembling water being sprayed from the hoses of fire trucks.
The memorial also features short pillars, in a semi-circle, behind the fountain. These pillars feature the names of the six fallen firemen. In the center on the pillars in a fireman with his head bowed.
The Firefighters Fountain was dedicated and completed in 1991, and remains one of the largest fountains in the city, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.