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Funeral Held for Fallen Peabody Firefighter

James Rice

PEABODY, Mass. (AP) — Hundreds of firefighters from departments across the state and nation lined the route to a Peabody church for the funeral of a city firefighter who died battling a fire just before Christmas.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray are among those attending the funeral Friday for 42-year-old James Rice at St. John the Baptist church in Peabody.

The 11-year veteran was killed while fighting an accidental three-alarm blaze last Friday at a multi-unit home.

Rice’s casket was carried to the church by Peabody Engine 5 followed by hundreds of mourners and a bagpipe band.

The funeral service is scheduled to be held in the Green Orthodox tradition but was held in the larger Catholic church to accommodate all the mourners

Rice’s exact cause of death remains under investigation.

He leaves a wife and three children.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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