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Thousands attend Alexandria paramedic's funeral

Friday - 2/17/2012, 3:19am  ET

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The fire department lined Seminary Road to honor Joshua Weissman. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
  • Gallery: (11 images)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The entire Alexandria Fire Department Thursday escorted the body of fallen paramedic Joshua Weissman from the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home on Braddock Road to the Beth El Hebrew Congregation on Seminary Road.

Weissman, 33, of Bristow died last week a day after he climbed over a concrete barrier on Interstate 395 and fell 30 feet into Four Mile Run Creek. Weissman was trying to get to a car fire.

His funeral procession passed by Station 206 at 4609 Seminary Rd., where Weissman served. Flags in the city flew at half-staff.

The 1 p.m. funeral drew first responders from around the nation to Alexandria. First responders from as far away as New York lined up Wednesday night for Weissman's funeral home viewing, which ended at midnight.

More than 2,000 people were expected to attend. The city warned the funeral would have a significant impact on traffic. Area schools closed early. Here is the procession route.

"A number of the streets will start being closed around 10 a.m. and will remain closed to as late as 5 p.m.," said Alexandria Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez, who adds that emergency responders from neighboring jurisdictions will staff Alexandria's fire houses.

In neighborhoods close to the funeral home and the temple, residents received flyers Wednesday warning of the traffic impact.

"Residents and businesses located near these events should expect road closures, traffic delays, a major public safety presence and heavy pedestrian and public safety traffic near these areas. Commuters are urged to avoid the area and to use alternative routes," the flyer says.

"We thank you for your patience with these inconveniences as the Alexandria Fire Department pays tribute to Paramedic Joshua Weissman, who died of injuries he suffered when responding to an emergency incident on I-395."

An Alexandria web page with additional information has been set up. People with questions can call 703-746-HELP or use #LODDJWeissman on Twitter.

After the 1 p.m. funeral service at Beth El Hebrew Congregation at 3830 Seminary Rd., Weissman was be buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery at 2823 King St. in Alexandria.

Weissman, who began volunteering with the Cayuga Heights Fire Department in upstate New York at 16, is survived by his wife Rebecca, according to his obituary.

People from around the country have been signing Weissman's guestbook and sharing their sympathies with his family.

Weissman family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations and condolences may be sent to:

Joshua A. Weissman Memorial Fund
c/o Alexandria Firefighters, Inc - IAFF Local 2141
4600 Duke St., Suite 429
Alexandria, VA 22304

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