Conversation Piece: The Rescue by Danek Mozdzenski

If you've walked through the Fringe grounds, chances are you've seen this piece.

October 1, 2017

photography by Michael Kuby

If you’ve walked through the Fringe grounds, you’ve seen it. If you’ve gone to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, you’ve seen it. If you’ve just hung out in the Whyte Avenue area, you’ve seen it.

Right across from the Varscona Theatre, near the site of Strathcona’s original fire hall, you’ll find "The Rescue." A firefighter is near the top of the ladder, reaching up towards a window, where a girl waits to be saved from the flames. Danek Mozdzenski, who sculpted the likeness of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson that’s displayed on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill and won a $1-million commission to sculpt Sir Isaac Brock at the university which bears his name, created "The Rescue."

Across the sidewalk from the sculpture, you will find a series of plaques that commemorate 25 Edmonton firefighters who died in the line of duty. Those names include Murray Clark and Ralph Hopp, who both died on what was one of the most tragic days in the history of Edmonton firefighting. Both were killed fighting a blaze at J.J. and Friends Discotheque on August 15, 1976. According to newspaper reports from that time, 85 people were evacuated after a fire in the club’s office burned out of control. The building could not be saved.

The memorial also shows the cumulative dangers of firefighting. Of the 25 names, 19 died from cancer; all of these deaths were at least partially blamed to the smoke and other carcinogens inhaled by firefighters while on duty.


The statue is maintained by the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society, which was formed 20 years ago. Once a year, the Society organizes a memorial ceremony for fallen firefighters. The statue is part of a plaza that honours firefighters. The plaques are located nearby, as are a series of park benches that feature images of different fire engines throughout the years. 

This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Property of the Week: California Meets Crestwood

This stunning two-storey has luxurious details throughout, including a theatre room.

Property of the Week: Stunning Penthouse in the Pearl

This two-storey penthouse condo has an unbelievable view.

Conversation Piece: “The River”

This collaborative mural stretches up several floors.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edmonton Restaurants >

Search for restaurants by cuisine or area of the city.

Find Avenue Edmonton >

Our 500 store listings cover fashion, home decor, sports, food and drink, and more.

Find an Event >

Wondering what to do tonight, tomorrow or next week? This calendar of events will help.