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Modesto firefighter laid to rest after line of duty death

Retired Captain Greg Ewert lost his eight-year battle with job-related cancer on September 23.

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A fallen firefighter was remembered in Modesto on Tuesday morning, at a Celebration of Life ceremony.

Retired Captain Greg Ewert lost his eight-year battle with job-related cancer.

“Greg loved being a firefighter," Jim Miguel, a former Modesto Fire Chief said.

"He really loved this job, he talked about it often," Kirk Jones, Ewert's childhood friend said.

Ewert was only 61-years-old.

“He was very, very good at it," Miguel said. "As you might know, Greg is meticulous. Greg not only expected perfection of himself, but he expected perfection of his crew."

He spent 31 years working for the Modesto Fire Department.

“Greg served our community and each of us with courage, determination and pride for more than 31 years, and ultimately paid the ultimate price," Chief Alan Ernst of the Modesto Fire Department said.

Ewert passed away on Sunday, September 23.

"The toughest battle he encountered was near the end when he was diagnosed with job-related cancer. Greg battled for years and we know he gave it the fight of a lifetime," Ernst said.

"I’m here today to say good bye to my best friend," Jones said. "I wanted to say what a man, what a friend, and I’ll miss you buddy."

"The men and the women of today’s fire service confronted with a more dangerous work environment than ever before," a representative from the International Association of Firefighters said.

Because Ewert's cancer was job-related, the IAFF is calling this a line-of-duty death.

"Therefore, in Captain Greg Ewert’s honor, I once again commit to the Modesto Fire Department and our firefighters that you will have the best tools and equipment to do your job. That I will do everything in my power to try to limit your exposure. And we will work together to create safer working environments," Ernst said.

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