Flame goes out at Lexington police monument; donations sought for repairs

A lightning strike seems to have extinguished the flame at Lexington's downtown monument to fallen police officers.

It's an especially bad time for the monument to go dark, said Scott Blakely, a police lieutenant and board member of the Fayette County Peace Officers Memorial Fund. Sunday marks the start of National Police Week, a nationwide memorial week for officers who died in the line of duty.

Engraved on Lexington's monument is the name of every Fayette County officer who has died in the line of duty. The monument has stood in Phoenix Park since 1998, and a flame atop the pillar has burned for most of that time.

This year, the monument's torch assembly succumbed to old age, Blakely said. A company from Massachusetts repaired the burner, which was reinstalled three weeks ago.

It's unclear when lightning fried the wiring and torch assembly, Blakely said. The flame was burning during a memorial gathering May 5. Blakely noticed Wednesday that the flame had gone out.

The monument's wiring runs to a junction box in Phoenix Park. That wiring might have to be replaced, and the monument might have to be disassembled for repairs.

The Fayette County Peace Officers Memorial Fund is asking for tax-deductible donations to repair the monument, or donations of time and expertise.

Checks can be made to the Fayette County Peace Officers Memorial Fund, 1097 Duval Street, Lexington, 40515. To help with repairs, leave a message with the Fraternal Order of Police at (859) 255-7629.