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Service for fire chief set for Sunday

MANATEE -- The Bradenton Fire Department will host a full-honors service for Fire Chief Mark Souders at 2 p.m. Sunday at Manatee Civic Center, fire officials said today.

Souders, 55, died Wednesday morning at Blake Medical Center after suffering an apparent heart attack. He served as Bradenton’s fire chief for the past 14 years.

A viewing will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Kingdom Life Church, 825 Ninth St. W., Bradenton.

Earlier today, Manatee County’s civic center authority, made up of county commissioners, voted to waive all fees and costs for the ceremony. The fees amount to $2,641.20, and county staff would incur about $1,000 in labor and other expenses to prepare the civic center after a Saturday night event.

Commission Chairman Carol Whitmore suggested waiving the fees and costs as a courtesy to the city of Bradenton.

“He was a first-in, first-out responder,” Whitmore said of Souders. “He put his life on the line for our county, and I thought it was the least we could do.”

Flowers may be sent to Kingdom Life Christian Church at 825 Ninth St. W., and donations may be sent to the Bradenton FireFighters Association (c/o Bradenton Fire Department, 1010 Ninth Ave. W., Bradenton 34205) to be held in trust for the Mark L. Souders Memorial Educational Fund.