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Firefighter Kevin Bell remembered in ceremony one year after death

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HARTFORD -- Family, friends and co-workers remembered a brave and heroic firefighter who lost his life too soon on Wednesday.

It’s been exactly one year since Kevin Bell was killed while fighting a house fire in on Blue Hills Avenue, just a few blocks away from  his home station Engine Company 16.

The 48 year-old was working on a house fire when he got entangled in a piece of furniture and his air tank ran empty.  He died due to lack of breathing gas. His death prompted an investigation surrounding equipment failure.

On Sun. Oct. 4, Bell was honored by President Barack Obama and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation in Maryland. Bell's described as a man who worked hard and never talked about his heroic actions. His family, who traveled to see the president and remember Bell, said that is what they want him to be remembered for.

Since Bell's passing, members of Hartford Fire Department have endured scrutiny and changes.  Higher-ups faced numerous investigations and flaws with leadership, communication and protocol were revealed.

For our full coverage of the issues plaguing the Hartford Fire Department over the past year, click here.

In April, CONN-OSHA slapped HFD with several safety violations. The allegations included that equipment that wasn't properly fitted, maintained or even used.  A federal report released earlier in the year concluded that Bell's oxygen tank malfunctioned the night he died.

Reflecting on the anniversary of the tragedy, assistant chief Scott Brady told Fox CT on the phone that the tumultuous year made the department "better, safer and more effective."
He added that firefighters will continue to improve so next time things go wrong, there will be a different outcome.