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Charity helps family of fallen St. Louis firefighter

Backstoppers, an organization that helps the spouses and children of fallen firefighters and officers, will give financial aid to the family of Capt. John Kemper

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — BackStoppers announced Thursday that it will give financial support to the family of a St. Louis fire captain who died this week.

The St. Louis Fire Department has labeled Capt. John Kemper's death a "line of duty" death.

Capt. John Kemper was at home when he died. (Photo/St. Louis Fire Department)
Capt. John Kemper was at home when he died. (Photo/St. Louis Fire Department)

Kemper, 59, died Wednesday. He sustained injuries while fighting a fire July 5 in the 3600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, the department says. Kemper didn't suffer any burns. He was admitted to the hospital with what was believed to be a shoulder injury. He was released from the hospital Friday and had not been cleared to return to work. The department did not disclose the cause of death or say what injuries he suffered.

BackStoppers is a St. Louis area nonprofit organization founded in 1959 by businessmen concerned about the financial consequences for the spouses and children of police and firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Kemper was promoted to captain in 2008. He is survived by a wife, a daughter and two grandsons.

"We lost a first responder who gave his life to his work," Ron Battelle, executive director of the BackStoppers, said in a news release. "Capt. Kemper was a man dedicated to protecting others. We will now step in and help his family during these difficult times and for years to come."

BackStoppers now helps 82 families with 66 dependent children.

Because the Fire Department deemed it a line-of-duty death, Battelle said he got approval from the BackStoppers' board Thursday morning to support Kemper's family.

"If it's determined to be line of duty death by the fire department, then we would jump in there" to help, Battelle added. Battelle said BackStoppers also uses guidelines that are used to determine federal benefits for police and firefighters, such as the death is covered "if you died when you're off duty and it's tied back to on-duty situations."

Battelle said the benefits in this case could include paying the surviving spouse's mortgage, health insurance, homeowners insurance and property taxes.

Copyright 2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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