For Immediate Release: April 4, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Optimistic Bridge will be Named for Fallen Firefighter

Commissioner pleased with Board of Transportation committee’s decision

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin today expressed his approval of a Board of Transportation committee recommendation to name 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. The committee reversed its March 7 decision to deny the renaming request.

As State Fire Marshal, Goodwin first 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.

"I sincerely hope that the full Board of Transportation approves the recommendation to recognize Capt. Jeff Bowen by renaming the Smoky Park Bridge in his honor. Capt. Bowen showed true and honorable commitment to the safety of his community. Ultimately, he gave his life fighting to protect the people of Asheville, and that deserves our utmost respect." Goodwin said.

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.