AURORA, Mo. – The Aurora community along with local firefighters are honoring a teen who died in a motorcycle crash on Saturday.
17-year-old Kadence Harris had been training with the Aurora Fire Department (AFD) as part of a high school program.
“She was very enthusiastic about doing firefighter stuff,” Fire Chief Gregory Hurd said. “She never said no to operating the aerial ladder or loading the hoses up in those beds.”
Hurd said this was the first year AFD participated in the Explore Program.
“They can participate in all of our training and our events, which the explorers come every Monday night,” Hurd said. “They can’t drive. They can’t go in a limited oxygen atmospheres and they can’t go inside of a house when it’s actually on fire.”
Harris spent many hours training, and told Hurd she wanted to become a first responder. But her budding career was cut short while taking a motorcycle ride to a toy drive.
“We escorted them to the city property to the edge of the city limits and then they continued on without us,” Hurd said. “Of course, the accident happened just a few miles down the road. It’s tragic and did not need to happen.”
There are memorials set up at the crash site and fire station filled with notes and flowers for Harris and the three others killed in the crash.
“We set the truck out and put the morning bunting on it and her gear,” Gregory said. “People have been stopping and putting flowers out.”
A visitation took place for Harris Wednesday night at Aurora Baptist Temple. Because of her dedication to training, AFD is giving Harris full firefighter honors which includes a firefighter walk through.
“She was one of us,” Hurd said. “She’s going to be missed.”
On Thursday, Harris’ funeral will also be held at Baptist Temple at 1 p.m. Following the service, crews will ring the bell for last call.
“There is going to be firefighters from all over are going to be here to honor her, even though they didn’t know her,” Hurd said.
During the funeral services, Ebenezer Fire Protection District will answer calls for AFD.
“Sadly we have been through that scenario,” Chief Nelson Prewitt said.
In March of 2022, Ebenezer Fire lost volunteer Dustin Brandhorst in a rollover crash.
“Dustin was a little older [than Harris], but he was in the same boat,” Prewitt said. “He was just finishing up his fire certification with the state of Missouri and was planning to go career into the service. So it’s sad to lose these folks that are here wanting to help their community.”
Prewitt said Ebenezer is honored to help AFD during this tragic time. Funeral services start at 1 p.m. Thursday. A candlelight vigil for all the victims of the crash will be held Friday night at 7:30 p.m at White Park Parking Lot.