ST Patrick Day Parade FDNY Ladder 25 Invites Phoenix Fire Ladder 25
Phoenix Fire Dept. Ladder 25
Valley Firefighters to Walk in New York Parade

Phoenix Arizona
Feb. 26, 2002 10:45 PM

Valley firefighters will walk next to their New York comrades in the festive St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Known for its party atmosphere, New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade promises to be something to remember this year for many on the Phoenix Fire Department.

"I guess there's nothing like it," said Phoenix Fire Capt. J.C. Hover.

New York Fire Department's Ladder 25 lost seven firefighters on Sept. 11 -- more than one-fourth of their entire force. They invited the Phoenix Fire Department's Ladder 25 to join them for the parade for support, and the firemen were more than honored.

"It was kind of special to have an invitation from Ladder 25 to us," Hover said. "It was devastating to lose our guys and I can only feel for them."

Although they share the same firehouse number, they likely never would have met had it not been for last year's World Series.

They bet T-shirts on the winner and learned they have even more in common than baseball. They both have trucks named "Pride of the Westside" and both have a bell leading the way.

The squad is looking forward to the March 17 event.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun, but I also think there's going to be reflecting," said Phoenix fireman Mike Cruz. "It's just going to be a great show of support -- solidarity between our two departments."

Firefighters from all over the country will be there to support the firefighters with one hand and wave to the crowds with the other.

"It's going to be a real special event," Cruz said.

The 30 firefighters and their spouses plan to leave for New York on March 14.