For Immediate Release: March 9, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Wants Bridge Named for Fallen Firefighter

Commissioner disappointed, dismayed by Board of Transportation decision

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin today expressed his disappointment that a state Board of Transportation committee has decided not to rename the Smoky Park Bridge in Asheville in honor of Capt. Jeff Bowen, a firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty in July 2011.

As State Fire Marshal, Goodwin advocated for the recognition and was met with support from Bowen’s family, the Asheville City Council, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and firefighters across the state.

In a letter to the Board of Transportation committee chairman, Goodwin said, "I strongly believe that firefighters are deserving of our highest respect, as they are among our public servants who intentionally put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others. I implore you to take action to give Capt. Jeff Bowen the recognition that his fellow firefighters, his community and the Office of State Fire Marshal feel he deserves, and rename the Smoky Park Bridge in his honor."

Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the Asheville Fire Department, was fatally injured responding to a four-alarm fire in a medical office building on July 28, 2011. Nearly a dozen other firefighters suffered injuries; more than 200 people escaped the building unharmed. The fire was ruled an arson.

Read Goodwin's full letter