Firefighter honored more than six months after his death

WICHITA — More than six months after his death, Capt. Urban Eck was posthumously recognized today as the Wichita Fire Department's firefighter of the year.

Eck, who spent 27 years with the department, died Jan. 2 from heart-related complications that arose after fighting a blaze at an apartment complex in December.

Eck's death was classified as in the line of duty after an internal investigation, which has resulted in policy changes within the fire department. Most of the changes relate to how a firefighter's health is evaluated after fighting a fire, Deputy Fire Chief Ron Aaron said.

Eck was the 15th Wichita firefighter to die in the line of duty and left behind his wife, eight children and eight grandchildren.

The firefighter of the year award recognizes firefighters for their community involvement and advancement of the profession, Aaron said.