Remembering Thomas Hollingsworth
Thomas Hollingsworth was a Robbinsdale firefighter who died in a house fire back in 1984. He is the only firefighter to be lost in the line of duty in city history.
“We were coming back from a hockey game or practice and we ran by the station. He said ‘I’ll see what happened,’” remembers his son, Scott, who was nine years old at the time. “Then, that night happened.”
Details of that night are never far away from the thoughts of the people who knew Thomas Hollingsworth the best.
“We called him ‘Holly’ and he was always there,” says former fire chief Tom Sipe. “He always wanted to be where the action was. He was an interior man.”
Sipe was a good friend of Thomas Hollingsworth and a pall bearer at his funeral. You can tell he can still feel the pain of his friend’s death.
“I’ve lived through it. I lost 10-15 pounds and it almost broke me,” says Sipe.
Hollingsworth’s legacy lives on. He has three sons, Scott, Brandon and Ryan. Brandon followed his father into the fire service and has been a firefighter in Brooklyn Park for ten years.
“It was a big step in my life, not only to honor my family’s name, but to do it for myself,” says Brandon Hollingsworth. “I think that his legacy was that he was willing to do whatever he needed to do to support his family and his family at the fire department too.”
His family appreciates that there is a city park that honors their father’s memory.
“We would see the sign and say ‘that’s my dad’s park,” says Ryan, who lives in Florida now. “He was still there, at the park, no matter where we are.”