Funeral for Firefighter Killed While Aiding Motorist Set for Noon Today

Firefighter Cecelia Escobar-Duplan. Photo via LinkedIn.

Isabel Hughes

Dover Post, Del.

(MCT)

Sep. 2—Cecilia Escobar Duplan, the 25-year-old firefighter who was killed while trying to help a motorist on I-95 last month, will be laid to rest Thursday afternoon.

Her funeral, which is being held at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church on Winder Road near New Castle, is set to begin at noon. A fire apparatus will bring her casket to the church shortly before 11 a.m., fire officials said.

Following the funeral, first responders will lead a procession to Gracelawn Memorial Park. They will take I-295 to Route 13, where they will then enter the cemetery.

Earlier: Wilmington (DE) Manor Volunteer Fire Company Member Fatally Struck on I-95

There, Escobar Duplan will receive full firefighter honors before being interred. Motorists should expect delays due to the procession.

Escobar Duplan, a firefighter with Wilmington Manor Volunteer Fire Company, was killed Aug. 22 on I-95 in Wilmington after she stopped to help a motorist who had crashed in a construction zone.

She was on her way home from her shift as a security guard at West Chester University, where she was a student, when she came across a wrecked Jeep around 4:15 a.m.

She pulled onto the Delaware Avenue off-ramp and got out of her car to aid the driver. As she walked onto the interstate, a pickup truck driven by an older man who was unable to see the Jeep due to weather conditions and lighting hit Escobar Duplan, police said.

Though the 25-year-old’s death came as a shock to her family and friends, the woman’s younger sister, Mirian, told Delaware Online/The News Journal last week she wasn’t surprised by how she died.

“That was so her,” Mirian said. “She would have stopped to help anyone.”

Born in Mexico, Escobar Duplan, her younger brother Sergio, Mirian and her parents fled violence in the country when she was 5.

Though she had a difficult upbringing — her family was extremely poor and her parents didn’t speak English, meaning Escobar Duplan had to learn the language quickly — she made it her mission to help others.

In addition to firefighting, working as a security guard and attending college, she also volunteered for Network Delaware’s Safe Communities Campaign. It works to protect and advocate for immigrant communities.

“Her life’s mission was to speak for the voiceless,” said Erika Gutierrez, one of Escobar Duplan’s colleagues at Network Delaware.

“She spoke for families like hers and for (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students like her who want to do so much but are told they can’t because of their (citizenship.)”

When she died, Escobar Duplan was working to find a way to become a Delaware police officer, of which she had long dreamed.

Because she was a DACA recipient — the program protects immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation but doesn’t give them a path to citizenship — Escobar Duplan had repeatedly been told she could not be hired.

But Mirian said she was convinced her sister would one day achieve her dream.

“She didn’t just achieve goals,” Mirian said, “she went above and beyond.”

Send story tips or ideas to Isabel Hughes at ihughes@delawareonline.com or 302-324-2785. For all things breaking news, follow her on Twitter at @izzihughes_

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