| Brenda Cowan|
| Brenda Denise Cowan|
May 9, 1963 (1963-05-09) Sturgis, Kentucky, U.S.
February 13, 2004(2004-02-13) (aged 40)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter
February 13, 2004, Lexington, Kentucky, United States
Forest Sale, Erwin Straus, Harris Isbell, Ron Cyrus, Lily May Ledford
University of Kentucky
Union County, Kentucky
Brenda Cowan Wikipedia
Brenda Denise Cowan (May 9, 1963 – February 13, 2004), Lexington, Kentucky's first black female firefighter, died in the line of duty on February 13, 2004. According to Women in the Fire Service, Lieutenant Cowan is the first black female career firefighter ever to die in the line of duty. She had served with the Lexington Fire Department for twelve years. Cowan was the sister of Fred Cowan, a member of University of Kentucky's 1978 national championship basketball team. Cowan was single and had no children.
Cowan was born in Sturgis, Kentucky, the daughter of Ella Irene Dawson and the Reverend Tabb Frank Scott Cowan, Sr., the minister at the city's New Salem Baptist Church. She had five siblings, Rev. Glenn Cowan, Linwood Cowan, Fred Cowan, Helen Cowan and Myrtle L. Cowan. She attended Union County High School where she played for the Bravettes basketball team. Cowan was named Most Valuable Player of the girls' basketball team in 1979 and 1981.
On the first tour of duty after being formally promoted to Lieutenant, Cowan was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call. Cowan, an emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter assigned to Engine Company 18, was trying to help Fontaine Hutchinson, who had been shot in the head outside her rural south Lexington home. Fontaine Hutchinson died on the scene. Her husband, Patrick Hutchinson barricaded himself for nearly six hours in a house close to Interstate 75. I-75 was shut down for several hours during the standoff. Police said they used 15 rounds of tear gas to smoke Hutchinson out of the house. He has been charged with two counts of murder and remains incompetent to stand for trial.
In March 2005, Cowan's estate filed a lawsuit over her death. The lawsuit accused top Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government officials, 911 operators and emergency dispatchers of negligence. It sought compensation for Cowan's pain and suffering, wrongful death, loss of capacity to labor and earn income, right to future benefits, damages for loss of life and medical and funeral expenses.
Mayor Teresa Isaac proclaimed the day of her funeral service Red Ribbon Day. The Kentucky Senate held a moment of silence for Lt. Cowan, after a reading a memorial resolution. The International Association of Black Professional Firefighters presented the Cowan family with a medal of valor.
A "Homegoing Celebration" led by ten local pastors spoke of hope, and of faith that Lt. Cowan moved on to a better place. Fire Department Chaplain Stewart Dawson said, "His angels came down and loaded that sweet, sweet spirit that we know into their ambulance." After the service the American flag-draped coffin was lifted atop Engine 33 outside Consolidated Baptist Church. Across town a radio dispatcher read:
"This is the last call for Lt. Brenda Cowan, badge number 324. "She served the Lexington fire department from Nov. 3, 1992 to Feb. 13, 2004." He paused, then said, "may you rest in peace." There was a 21-gun salute. Cowan's body was escorted on a six-mile procession through Lexington. route
In March 2005, the Brenda D. Cowan Act, Senate Bill 217, unanimously passed the Kentucky Senate. The bill would amend KRS 508.025, relating to assault in the third degree, to provide that a person is guilty of assault in the third degree when he causes or attempts to cause physical injury to emergency medical services personnel, organized fire department members, and rescue squad personnel.