ASHEVILLE, NC – A moment of silence, in honor of fallen firefighter Captain Jeff Bowen, will be observed before the official beginning of the Bele Chere festival today. Capt. Bowen, 37, went into cardiac arrest after succumbing to intense smoke and heat yesterday during a four-alarm fire at 445 Biltmore Avenue.
Each entertainment stage throughout the festival will observe a moment of silence today at noon. All vendors, merchants, Bele Chere guests and the community at large are invited to participate.
“Behind the scenes, Bele Chere has always been a celebration of public service and unity. As we begin the celebration of Bele Chere, of coming together to celebrate the goodness and diversity of this community, we hope to do so in Jeff’s honor – by carrying forth his compassion and kindness to all with whom we gather,” said Councilman Jan Davis. “We hope to take this opportunity to be reminded of the importance of service and to celebrate the life of a true hero.”
In a show of solidarity, Asheville Fire Department will be assisted by City of Greensboro Fire Department and City of Charlotte Fire Department over the course of the festival weekend.
City staff has been invited to come together on the Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park at 11:45 a.m. to observe a moment of silence before the festival begins.
Information on any public memorial for Capt. Bowen will be released once details have been confirmed.