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  1. #1
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    News

    WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- The first two firefighters headed into the burning warehouse to search for homeless people who might be inside. Minutes later, a voice crackled over the radio: ''Mayday, Mayday, we're running out of air.''

    Four other firefighters disappeared into the smoke in an attempt to rescue their colleagues.



    None returned.

    The six Worcester firefighters are believed to have perished in the five-story conflagration that continued to smolder Saturday night.

    ''People have to understand why these firefighters went into this building,'' said Mayor Ray Mariano. ''They went in because there was a chance that homeless people were in there. And the others risked their lives for their comrades.''

    It was the worst blaze in the country in terms of firefighters lost in a building in more than 20 years, according to a Web site that tracks fire statistics.

    ''It's three weeks before Christmas. There's roughly 15 kids out there without fathers,'' said District Fire Chief Michael McNamee.

    Ten Catholic priests were among those who rushed to the warehouse to comfort the firefighters' families and pray for the missing.

    ''It was probably one of the worst nights in our priesthood,'' said the Rev. Peter Scanlon, the fire department's Catholic chaplain.

    Fire officials identified the six as Lt. Thomas E. Spencer, 42, of Worcester; Firefighter Timothy P. Jackson, 51, of Hopedale; Firefighter James F. Lyons, 34, of Worcester; Firefighter Joseph T. McGuirk, 38, of Leicester; Firefighter Paul A. Brotherton, 41, of Auburn; and Firefighter Jeremiah M. Lucey, 38, of Leicester.

    Lyons' father, also named James F. Lyons, said his son, a fireman for 12 years, loved his job.

    ''He was a wonderful young man, and we're going to miss him greatly,'' the elder Lyons said Saturday night.

    Scanlon said two had once served as altar boys. One had done readings at a firefighters' memorial Mass. Brotherton was the father of six children, Worcester District Fire Chief James Callery said.

    ''This is not a typical day in our city,'' Mariano said. ''This morning the sun didn't rise. It didn't rise because last night we lost six members of our family.''



    Lt. Geoffrey Gardell said he knew all six of the men.

    ''They were six great guys. ... They were six really good firefighters,'' he said. ''It could have been any one of us.''

    Gardell watched the smoldering fire Saturday with his wife, Nancy, who came to the Franklin Street warehouse the night before to make sure he was OK. She said she felt for the married firefighters' wives.

    ''My heart goes out to them,'' she said. ''I can't imagine anything worse.''

    About 100 friends and relatives of the victims spent Saturday huddled at the nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. The Red Cross ran shuttles to the warehouse, where an area had been set aside for them to observe the building.

    ''They let them come as close as safety will allow,'' said Constance Morrisson, a Red Cross mental health worker. ''It's the saddest day I've ever known in the history of this city.''

    McNamee said he told relatives the recovery of their loved ones' bodies and the investigation into what caused the fire would probably be a ''long, slow, tedious process.''

    The fire at the abandoned five-story cold storage building posed a stiff challenge from the start. The building, constructed about 80 years ago, was a confusing maze of dark, smoky rooms. It had no windows on the upper floors, which not only impeded firefighters' ability to find their way around inside, but also trapped heat inside. Cork insulation added to the smoke.

    President Clinton released a statement of condolence for the victims' families.

    ''The six firefighters, who are now missing and presumed dead, valiantly put their lives on the line in the effort to save others and protect their city,'' Clinton said. ''Their courageous service reminds us all of the tremendous commitment and sacrifice made by the thousands of firefighters across America who risk their own lives every day to protect our communities.''

    Gov. Paul Cellucci ordered flags at state facilities lowered to half-staff, and flags at fire stations were also lowered Saturday.

    The fire was reported around 6:15 Friday evening. The firefighters were reported missing at around 7:30.

    McNamee said the first two firefighters who where reported missing entered the building both to look for homeless people and fight the fire from the inside. They were part of a group of about 35 working inside the building at the time, McNamee said.

    Smoke continued to pour from the hulking warehouse Saturday night as firefighters doused it with water.


    An couple console each other outside the former Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building, Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4, 1999 in Worcester, Mass. The couple, described themselves as friends of the six firefighters that are presumed dead, trapped inside the building.


    Around midday, two firefighters and a structural engineer entered the building for the first time since the firefighters were lost. Shortly after, a wrecking ball began knocking a hole in one wall to give investigators better access to the building's interior.

    Fire Chief Dennis Budd said it wasn't clear what caused the blaze. But Worcester Deputy Fire Chief Gerard Dio called the fire suspicious because firefighters initially fought two fires that appeared to have begun separately.

    A fire captain who declined to give his name said witnesses told firefighters homeless people in the past had built fires in the warehouse to keep warm.

    State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan said no evidence had been uncovered to indicate that any homeless people had died in the fire. He said city, state and federal investigators had been interviewing firefighters and witnesses, and they would begin looking for physical evidence once safety permitted them to examine the interior of the building.

    Fire officials said the dismantling of one wall of the building would be a slow and systematic process. Coan said spotlight-equipped state police helicopters would hover over the smoking building during the night to give officials a good look inside.

    Six dead firefighters would make the blaze the country's deadliest building fire in terms of firefighters killed in more than two decades, according to Firehouse.com, a Web site that tracks federal statistics on firefighter deaths.

    On Aug. 2, 1978, six New York City firefighters died in a roof collapse in a supermarket fire.

    The Worcester fire would be the country's second deadliest this decade in terms of firefighters killed, according to Firehouse.com. On July 6, 1994, 14 firefighters died battling a blaze on South Canyon mountain near Glenwood Springs, Colo.

    The deadliest fire for Massachusetts firefighters occurred on March 10, 1946 when 13 firefighters were killed in a roof collapse at the Strand Theatre in Brockton.

    The fire prompted officials to close Interstate 290, the city's central highway. Two westbound lanes were reopened Saturday evening, but police officials said the eastbound lanes would remain closed, possibly until Monday. Fire trucks were spraying water on the building from the highway, and officials also wanted to ensure that the blaze's extreme heat hadn't damaged the road.

  2. #2
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    New Firefighter's of Worcester Graduate

    17 men sworn in as firefighters

    Saturday, December 29, 2001

    By Bronislaus B. Kush
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- A few days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Capt. John Sullivan of the Worcester Fire Department's Training Division met with families of the young men chosen for the upcoming firefighter recruit class.
    The collapse of the World Trade Center towers had claimed the lives of 343 New York City firefighters, and Capt. Sullivan could easily see the concern etched on the faces of the recruits' loved ones.
    All Capt. Sullivan could do to allay the worries over the men's choice of a career was to promise the families that the budding firefighters would get the best training available.
    Over the next 15 weeks, the 17 recruits put in countless hours learning the latest firefighting techniques.
    Yesterday, that training -- considered among the most rigorous in the nation -- formally came to a close as the recruits, with family and friends looking on, received their silver badges and were sworn to duty as the newest members of the Worcester Fire Department during ceremonies held at the old St. Vincent Hospital complex on Vernon Hill.

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    Ride for Heroes

    200 motorcycle riders warmed by their motive

    Monday, October 30, 2000

    By Richard Duckett
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- Brothers don't forget brothers.
    And so it was that a fraternity (and sorority) of more than 200 motorcyclists were revving and vrooming their machines shortly before 11:30 yesterday morning in preparation for
    Last edited by Neil; 02-26-2002 at 03:38 PM.

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    Ride to Colorado

    9 ride to honor firefighters

    Saturday, September 9, 2000

    By George B. Griffin
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- Six firefighters, two police officers and a paramedic left the Fire Department's Grove Street headquarters yesterday for the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colo.
    Seven will ride motorcycles, while two are driving a truck and trailer that will provide support for the bikers on the six-day trip.
    The riders carried with them the good wishes and support of their friends and family, the blessings of clergy for a safe trip and the comradeship of their fellow police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
    And they carried another intangible, visible yesterday in the faces of each of them -- the memory of Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jerem iah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk and Lts. James F. Lyons and Thomas E. Spencer -- the six who answered their final fire call Dec. 3 in a blaze at the former Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building.
    The names of Worcester's six fallen firefighters will be inscribed on the national memorial, along with the names of dozens of other U.S. and Canadian firefighters who died last year in the line of duty.
    The nine from Worcester who are making the 4,400-mile, 13-day round trip represent all three of the city's emergency services.
    Officer Thomas E. Bishop and Capt. James J. Nishan are representing Worcester police; UMass-Memorial EMS Paramedic Edward Ramstrom is representing the city's emergency medical services; and Firefighters Michael P. McKeown, Paul D. Cicero, Paul E. Brosnihan Jr. and Timothy P. Foley, and Fire Lts. John H. Rogers and Peter J. Lemieux are representing Worcester firefighters.
    The nine plan to arrive in Colorado Springs on Wednesday and will participate in the culmination of the national memorial observance for the country's fallen firefighters Sept. 16.
    Along the way, they will attend press conferences in the Bronx, N.Y., Philadelphia, Wheeling, W.Va., Indianapolis and Kansas City, Mo.
    About 150 other firefighters, family members and friends are traveling to Colorado Springs for the ceremony.
    The riders all are using vacation time and paying their own expenses for the trip. They also are raising money for the construction of a memorial in Worcester by selling T-shirts with the motto:

  5. #5
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    Memorial Ride to Colorado

    Bikers seek closure on the road

    Marathon memorial journey
    Sunday, August 6, 2000

    By Shaun Sutner
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- Fire Lt. John Rogers and police Capt. James Nishan are big guys with tough jobs.
    Both are Vietnam War veterans, and both ride good-size motorcycles.
    Capt. Nishan favors a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, while Lt. Rogers prefers a Honda Valkyrie.
    Next month, the pair will show they have hearts big enough to match their bikes.
    As the senior members of a motorcycle team of public safety officers, they will embark on a 4,000-mile round-trip to Colorado to honor the six city firefighters who perished in the Dec. 3 Worcester Cold Storage blaze.
    They will leave Sept. 8 and spend six days on the road on the outbound portion of their journey, averaging about 350 miles per leg and sleeping in firehouses along the way. The pace will increase on the four-day return trip.
    Another 150 or so city firefighters and their families will travel by less rigorous means to Colorado Springs for two days of events at the national Fallen Firefighter Memorial, culminating in an observance on Sept. 16.
    Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk and fire Lts. James F. Lyons and Thomas E. Spencer will be honored -- along with dozens of other American and Canadian firefighters who died in the line of duty last year.
    The riders are raising money for the construction of a memorial in Worcester by selling T-shirts emblazoned with their motto,

  6. #6
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    A Memorial to help the living

    A memorial to help the living

    Saturday, September 16, 2000

    By Shaun Sutner
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-- They have journeyed 2,000 miles here to this city at the base of the Rocky Mountains to witness six names etched in black granite.
    The widows, parents and children of the six Worcester firefighters who perished in the fire Dec. 3 at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. are here.
    Also on hand is a huge contingent of Worcester firefighters and their families, more than 300 in all, who have flooded into Colorado Springs by plane, motorcycle, automobile and train over the last few days.
    They have all come for the 14th annual observance at the International Association of Firefighters' Fallen Firefighters Memorial, located in Memorial Park at the base of Pike's Peak, the 14,000-foot mountain that towers above this city of 380,000. The observance will take place this afternoon.
    The names of 59 U.S. and Canadian firefighters who died in the line of duty have been added to the memorial wall of honor this year.
    Among them, grouped together on the last panel of the chest-high, accordion-like stretch of granite wall, are the names of Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey, Timothy P. Jackson and Joseph T. McGuirk, and Lt. James F. Lyons and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer.
    Today's ceremony will be an occasion of great pageantry, one that the association's organizers hope can lift the spirits of survivors.
    The blaring of bagpipes, the marching and the colorful flags and uniforms displayed on a broad, grassy field will proclaim the proud esprit de corps of the firefighter brotherhood.
    Some here see the permanence of the national memorial as their best hope for a kind of closure to the tragedy. Others know in their hearts that nothing will ever release them from their pain and loss.

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    Tribute

    Ceremony pays tribute to fallen Worcester firefighters

    Sunday, September 17, 2000

    By Shaun Sutner
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-- A single bell tolled six times, once each for Worcester firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey, Timothy P. Jackson, Joseph T. McGuirk and fire lieutenants Thomas E. Spencer and James F. Lyons III.
    In the first rows of seats amid a crowd of more than 3,000, their widows, children, and parents wept.
    Their brother firefighters, at least 150 of them, then stood in unison wherever they were, their dress uniforms making a dark blue pattern among the wide sweep of onlookers.
    The six men who lost their lives on Dec. 3, 1999, when a massive fire consumed the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co., were given a hero's tribute yesterday, along with 53 other U.S. and Canadian firefighters who died in the line of duty.
    The ceremony here at the International Association of Firefighters' Fallen Firefighter Memorial was the largest by far in the 14 years the observance has been held.
    Though the creed of the firefighters here is that every firefighter's death is as important as the next, the entire observance was intensely colored by the Worcester fire.
    Beyond the huge Worcester presence -- more than 300 firefighters and family members traveled here for the event -- speakers were moved to single out the city's tragedy as emblematic of the peril and sacrifice embedded in the job.

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    Leary Firefighters Foundation

    Comic was serious on fire goal

    Saturday, February 10, 2001

    By George B. Griffin
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- Actor-comedian Denis Leary kept his promise to the citizens of Worcester yesterday, delivering a check for $350,000 to help build a training center and buy equipment for the Fire Department.
    The amount was nearly double the goal that Mr. Leary set last year when he created a nonprofit foundation and permanent fund to benefit the Worcester Fire Department in the aftermath of the warehouse fire on Dec. 3, 1999, that killed six firefighters.
    Mr. Leary, a Worcester native, is a cousin of Jeremiah M. Lucey, one of the six firefighters who died. Another fallen firefighter, Lt. Thomas E. Spencer, was a classmate and close friend of Mr. Leary.
    Lts. James F. Lyons and Timothy P. Jackson and Firefighters Joseph T. McGuirk and Paul A. Brotherton died in the fire, too.
    The foundation's mission is to provide money and resources to obtain the best equipment and firefighter training for Central Massachusetts communities.
    In ceremonies yesterday at Fire Department headquarters, 141 Grove St., Mr. Leary handed a giant check for $350,000 to Firefighter Frank P. Raffa, president of Local 1009, International Association of Fire Fighters.
    The Leary Firefighters Foundation raised the money in October with a two-day

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    Worcester to Colorado Ride Thru the Prairie

    Firefighters' caravan crosses into prairie

    Wednesday, September 13, 2000

    By Mark Melady
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    Capt. James J. Nishan of the Worcester Police Department is filing dispatches from the road during a motorcycle trip to Colorado Springs, Colo. The six Worcester firefighters killed in the Dec. 3 blaze will be honored there Saturday in a national observance of U.S. and Canadian firefighters killed in the line of duty. Given that the temperature in Missouri exceeded 100 Monday, the Worcester contingent motorcycling to a memorial service in Colorado for fallen firefighters might have thought they were in the Sinai or experiencing a mirage.

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    Chaplain Peter J. Scanlon Remembers the Worcester Six

    Behind the tears and sorrow, chaplain saw strength in faith

    Monday, December 4, 2000

    By Linda Bock
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- Since he became a Fire Department chaplain nearly 40 years ago, the Rev. Peter J. Scanlon has been at most multiple-alarm fires in the city.
    The one that struck on Dec. 3, 1999, was no exception.
    The Catholic priest was at his sister's home in Shrewsbury that night, recuperating from knee-replacement surgery, when he heard frantic/jdialogue on his scanner, emanating from the scene of a fire in a vacant warehouse on Franklin Street. The chaplain immediately asked his sister to drive him to the Worcester Cold Storage building.
    Last edited by Neil; 03-17-2002 at 05:15 PM.

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    HEROES

    Memorial Worcester Centum 12-9-99



    If you're looking for a hero, a role model, you don't
    have to look very far. You see, a hero isn't someone who hits
    home runs or scores touchdowns
    in front of thousands of cheering fans.
    A hero is an average citizen who does something extraordinary
    to help someone else in need.
    A hero is a firefighter who runs into a burning building,
    never thinking of himself.
    And if you want to find one of these heroes,
    all you have to do is look next-door
    at your neighbor or your uncle. Or across the
    breakfast table at your own dad.

    The Honorable Raymond Mariano,
    Mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts
    Worcester Fallen Firefighters' Memorial Service,
    December 9, 1999
    Worcester Centrum

  12. #12
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    Tribute & Honors

    Saturday, October 28, 2000

    CELLUCCI PRESENTS FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR AWARDS Honors Worcester Firefighters



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Contact:
    John Birtwell
    Sarah Magazine (617) 727-2759
    Charles McDonald (617) 727-7777 X 25507

    WORCESTER- Governor Paul Cellucci today honored more than 70 of the Commonwealth

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    2nd Annual Lt. James "Jay" Lyons Memorial Road Race

    2nd Annual Lt. James "Jay" Lyons Memorial Road Race

    5k Race, 1 Mile Walk

    Sunday April 7, 2002 2:00pm

    Blessed Sacrament Church Phelan Canter, 551 Pleasant Street Worcester, MA

  14. #14
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    LAWYER: 2 WORCESTER FIRE SUITS SETTLED

    LAWYER: 2 WORCESTER FIRE SUITS SETTLED

    Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
    The Boston Globe...04/10/2002

    By Ralph Ranalli, Globe Staff

    Relatives of two of the six firefighters who died in a 1999 Worcester warehouse fire have reached financial settlements with the building's owner, heading off potential wrongful death claims, a lawyer for the owner said yesterday.

    The former Cold Storage Warehouse was covered by a $ 1 million policy and the families of firefighters Joseph McGuirk and James Lyons have agreed to a one-sixth share, about $ 166,667, said attorney Leonard Kesten of Boston.


    Kesten, who represents landlord Tony Kwan and a trust that owns the building, said the Kwan family is admitting no liability, but hopes the settlements "in some small way help the healing process."

    The six firefighters died on Dec. 3, 1999, in a blaze started by a candle knocked over during an argument between a homeless man and woman, who were squatters in the empty warehouse.

    The firefighters, who searched for the couple believing that they were still inside, were trapped inside by heavy smoke and a fast-moving fire.

    The families of the four other dead firefighters, Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey and Thomas Spencer, still have wrongful death lawsuits pending against the Kwan family. The suits allege that the owners should have known that homeless people could gain access to the building, a charge Kesten disputed.

    "The fact is that he (Kwan) did everything he could," Kesten said. "The (Worcester) Fire Department inspected the property four days before the fire and found that it was perfectly secure."

    The lawyers for the McGuirk and Lyons families, Ralph Sbrogna and Robert J. O'Keefe, could not be reached yesterday.

    The state Supreme Judicial Court has reinstated manslaughter charges against Thomas Levesque and Julie King, the couple who allegedly fled after accidentally starting the fire. Prosecutors allege that the couple did not call 911 to report the fire, even though they had a cellular telephone.

    The decision reversed an earlier ruling by Superior Court Judge Timothy Hillman, who had thrown out the case saying that the couple's alleged conduct did not rise to the level of "wanton and reckless conduct," the legal standard for manslaughter.


    http://webpublisher.lexisnexis.com/i...-Y3XS-00000-00


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    New Webster Square Fire Station Dedicated

    New city fire station opens
    Tuesday, April 30, 2002

    By Martin Luttrell
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WORCESTER-- A new chapter in the city's firefighting history began yesterday with the opening of the new Webster Square fire station, which replaced an 1893 building that was constructed to house horse-and-buggy equipment.
    The $4.5 million station, which was built on the site of the original, has 15,000 square feet of floor space, more than twice that of the old building, yet it retains similar lines and proportions in its facade.
    One detail it doesn't share with the historic firehouse is the brass pole generations of firefighters used to slide from the second floor to the first when going out on a call.
    Yesterday's dedication featured comments by city and Fire Department officials, and musical selections by the Worcester Fire Brigade Pipe and Drums.

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