02 January, 2020
By SJA Jafri
Harvey Keaton, aged 19 months, wore a uniform and sucked on his dummy as he received his father’s posthumous medal at Thursday’s funeral near Sydney.
Dozens of firefighters formed a guard of honour to salute Keaton’s coffin.
He and colleague Andrew O’Dwyer died on 19 December en route to a blaze, when their fire truck hit a fallen tree.
O’Dwyer, also father to a toddler, will be buried next week.
The prime minister said he was there to “remember and give thanks for the life and service of Geoff Keaton”.
In addition to Keaton and O’Dwyer, another firefighter died on Monday when high winds overturned his truck, killing one and injuring two others.
Since September, a total 18 people have died as a result of the fires – seven of them in New South Wales this week alone. Others are missing.
Thousands of firefighters have been deployed every day for months, battling enormous fires that have yet to be brought under control. The vast majority are unpaid volunteers.