Florian was a 3rd-century Roman military commander who organized the army's firefighting brigade. When the emperor discovered that Florian refused to carry out orders to persecute Christians, he sentenced Florian to be burned at the stake. Tied to the stake, he bravely challenged his executioners to light the fire. "Do it," he declared, "I will climb to Heaven on the flames." St. Florian is the beloved patron of firefighters everywhere.