SALUTE: Family, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Candice Kruger, who died on duty fighting a fire. Among the mourners are Neville Askew, Kruger’s father-in-law, and Kelly Kruger, her wife. A fireman’s bell is rung to acknowledge Kruger's passing.
Cape Town - For the city she was a brave and dedicated firefighter, but to her partner Candice Kruger, also known as Ashley, was a pillar of strength.

Friends, family and colleagues paid their respects to Candice at a memorial service at the Roeland Street fire station.

The 33-year-old firefighter collapsed in the line of duty while she was part of a three-person team fighting a blaze on the slopes of Table Mountain two weeks ago. Kruger served the city for nine years.

“She was my best friend, soulmate and everything I wanted. When I received the news I was shocked and in denial. I am proud that she died doing what she loved but it doesn't take away the devastating pain that I'm feeling. I will miss her terribly,” Kelly Kruger, her wife, said. Kruger’s niece, Courtney Mullins, broke down when she said one thing she would remember the most was her warm and welcoming smile.

“She was my best friend, soulmate and everything I wanted,” Kelly Kruger, her wife, said. Video: Okuhle Hlati.

The family said they found out about her death on Facebook. Hennie Fourie, a colleague and friend, said: "She was a very dedicated and courageous firefighter. Everyone here at work enjoyed her company as she had a sense of humour. She had a big heart and people also loved her for that. She was a close friend and I treated her like my own daughter. She will be dearly missed. Her death has left a void.”

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the City would offer the family a full brigade funeral on Friday as Kruger died while serving in the line of duty.

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Cape Argus