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Thread: LODD Nine Charleston Firefighters Perish in Blaze

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    LODD Nine Charleston Firefighters Perish in Blaze

    Nine Charleston Firefighters Perish in Blaze


    Updated: 06-19-2007 10:10:46 AM

    By BRUCE SMITH
    Associated Press Writer


    Fire swept through a furniture warehouse, collapsing the building's roof and claiming the lives of nine firefighters in a disaster the mayor described Tuesday as "difficult to fathom or quantify."

    "Nine brave, heroic, courageous firefighters of the city of Charleston have perished fighting fire in a most courageous and fearless manner, carrying out their duties," Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley said at a morning news conference. "To all of their loved ones, our heart goes out to them."

    Two employees in the building were rescued from the blaze, which broke out at about 7 p.m. Monday in the Sofa Super Store and warehouse, Riley said.

    Overnight, firefighters saluted as the bodies of their colleagues were taken from the warehouse.

    "To lose nine is just a tragedy of immense proportions," Riley said. "To lose nine is just unbelievable."

    Riley said the county coroner planned to disclose the names of the dead. The cause of the fire was under investigation, but Riley said arson was not suspected.

    Witnesses said the store's roof collapsed, throwing debris over about two-dozen rescue workers. Onlookers were hit with flying ash.

    "It was like a 30-foot tornado of flames," said Mark Hilton, who was struck in his eye.

    Daniel Shahid, a salesman at a nearby car dealership, said firefighters came in asking for towels.

    "The next thing you know, we were carrying hoses, directing traffic, everybody from the dealership," he said.

    Shahid said he saw firefighters rescue four people from the building. "They were struggling. They were covered in black soot. They looked scared out of their minds," Shahid said.

    Riley called the missing firefighters heroes.

    "This is a profession that we must never take for granted," the mayor said. "There's a fire raging and they go toward it."
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=55141
    AP Photo/Alice Keeney

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    Nine Charleston Firefighters Killed in Collapse Identified

    Nine Charleston Firefighters Killed in Collapse Identified


    Updated: 06-19-2007 04:49:29 PM

    Firehouse.Com News

    CHARLESTON, S.C.--During a press conference this afternoon, officials from the city of Charleston, S.C. identified the names of the firefighters killed in last night's blaze.


    Here are their names, as heard by the Firehouse.com News staff. Years of service follow each name.


    Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson
    Age: 48
    Years with department: 30
    Capt. Mike Benke
    Age: 49
    Years with department: 29 years
    Capt. Louis Mulkey
    Age: 34
    Years with department: 11 1/2 years
    Engineer Mark Kelsey
    Age: 40
    Years with department: 12 1/2 years
    Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, Nine years
    Age: 37
    Years with department: 9
    Assistant Engineer Michael French
    Age: 27
    Years with department: 1 1/2 years
    Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton
    Age: 56
    Years with department: 32 years
    Firefighter Brandon Thompson
    Age: 27
    Years with department: Four years
    Firefighter Melven Champaign
    Age: 46
    Years with department: Two years

    A fund has been established for the fallen firefighters. Donations can be sent to: The City of Charleston Firemen's Fund, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, SC, 29402.
    Memorial Coin info
    http://www.local61.com/
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=56&id=55156

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    Chief Describes Scenario of Charleston Blaze

    Chief Describes Scenario of Charleston Blaze


    Updated: 06-19-2007 10:30:07 PM



    By BRUCE SMITH
    Associated Press Writer


    CHARLESTON, S.C. --

    More than a dozen firefighters who rushed into the burning furniture superstore knew - or thought they knew - two things: employees were trapped inside and the blaze was small enough to control.

    But within moments, flames swept across the warehouse, blowing out windows and eventually collapsing the roof in a twisted mass of brown steel. Nine men were killed in the nation's biggest loss of firefighters since 9/11.

    "I lost nine of my best friends," said Fire Chief Rusty Thomas, choking back tears Tuesday. "To the families, you gave them to us, and we protected them as best as we could."

    The cause of the fire Monday night at the Sofa Super Store, and exactly how the men were killed, were under investigation, but officials said arson was not suspected.

    One fire captain said the men might have fallen victim to a flashover, in which superhot gases heat a building and its contents so intensely that they literally burst into flames.

    Buildings that contain a lot of furniture are especially vulnerable, because of the wood lacquer, polyurethane foam and other combustible materials that can reach flashover at a relatively low temperature - sometimes within minutes of a fire's outset.

    Other officials, however, said the roof collapse might have killed the firefighters.

    The fire chief said there was no indication his firefighters did anything wrong. "They did exactly what they were trained to do," Thomas said.

    The blaze plunged the city of 106,000 and its 237 surviving firefighters into mourning.

    Through the night, firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers saluted as the firefighters' bodies were carried from the smoldering ruins, with the last victim removed around daybreak.

    Some firefighters wept. Some fell to their knees, others held their heads in their hands, or sat slumped on the bumpers of their firetrucks, their faces etched with grief and exhaustion.

    Later in the day, as mourners left flowers outside fire stations and state officials ordered flag lowered, firefighters draped an American flag over a sign near the front of the store.

    Many in the department said emotions were too raw to talk about the tragedy.

    "I can't say much without crying," said one firefighter gathered in a station mess hall.

    Officials said the fire started in a storage area of the Sofa Super Store, a huge showroom and warehouse on a commercial strip of car dealerships and body shops locals refer to as the "Auto Mile." The first emergency calls came in at about 7 p.m., and firefighters were told two employees were trapped.

    Later Tuesday, however, the fire chief said only one employee was believed trapped. The employee made it out alive, Thomas said, but he said it was unclear it was firefighters who rescued him.

    Firefighters searching for victims and trying to battle the fire picked their way amid rows of sofas and mattresses stacked five and six high on racks in the cavernous warehouse, a corrugated-metal structure next to a gas station.

    "It was burning everything. As fast as they would put out one side, another hot spot would pop up," said Lesley Broughton, who lives in the neighborhood and works as a clerk at a convenience store near the gutted furniture store. "Then glass started breaking and they told everybody to get back and finally it was just an inferno."

    Capt. Jeff Harrison said his firefighters were trying to knock down the flames when they apparently flashed over.

    "When they called it in, the fire wasn't all that large at the time," said Harrison, who lost three of his crew in the fire. "By the time they got there and got inside, they were just trying to make an attack on it and it got enough oxygen in there and flashed over and the whole building went up in flames."

    The nine firefighters - all men - ranged in age from 27 to 56, with anywhere from 18 months to 32 years on the job. Officials said their bodies were found in various places around the gutted building.

    "To lose nine is just a tragedy of immense proportions," Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said. "To lose nine is just unbelievable."

    The building had no fire sprinklers and was not required o have them. The fire chief said sprinklers would not have put out the fire but would have at least slowed it.

    The mayor said the one-story warehouse had a drop ceiling that contained lots of oxygen, and that, along with the combustible furniture, made it "a much more complicated building from a firefighting event than one might imagine."

    It was the nation's biggest loss of firefighters since the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed 340 firefighters. It was the deadliest fire in South Carolina since a 1979 blaze killed 11 people in the Lancaster County jail.

    "These firefighters were true heroes who demonstrated great skill and courage. Their unwavering commitment to their neighbors and to the city of Charleston is an inspiration to all Americans," President Bush said in a statement.

    Officials identified the victims as Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson, 48; Capt. Mike Benke, 49; Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34; Mark Kelsey, 40; Bradford "Brad" Baity, 37; Michael French, 27; James "Earl" Drayton, 56; Brandon Thompson, 27; and Melven Champaign, 46.

    One of Mulkey's cousins said football and basketball players that he coached at a high school had gathered at the firefighter's home.

    "He loved it. He was doing what he loved," said Kelly Lax, a 41-year-old cousin. "Everybody's doing what they can do. It's been hard. He had a lot friends. He influenced a lot of people."

    Store owner Herb Goldstein said in a statement: "All of us at Sofa Super Store are devastated and heartbroken by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the heroic firefighters who lost their lives."
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...1&sectionId=56
    AP Photo/Alice Keeney


    Charleston Fire Chief, Rusty Thomas, addresses the media during a news conference Tuesday, June 19, 2007, in Charleston, S.C. The names of the nine firefighters killed in the fire at the Sofa Super Store Warehouse were released during the news conference.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Worcester Fire Offers Support After S.C. Tragedy

    Worcester Fire Offers Support After S.C. Tragedy


    Updated: 06-19-2007 08:32:46 PM


    Story by thebostonchannel.com

    WORCESTER, Mass. --

    The Worcester fire chief and the head of the city's firefighters union will travel to South Carolina to help the community heal after nine of its firefighters died in a fire.

    NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that six members of the Worcester Fire Department died in a warehouse fire on Dec. 3, 1999.

    Worcester Chief Gerard Dio said he was thinking about how difficult it is to notify families when tragedy strikes.

    "A tough thing. Who is going to go and who is going to say what. 'You know them. OK, we are going to send you here.' 'We are going to send you there,'" Dio said.

    "We'll be sitting down with the union just to tell them what we went through -- the dos and don'ts. When this happened to a community, everybody is out there and wanting to offer assistance. You know, quite frankly, we probably made some mistakes, but we leaned from our mistakes," Worcester Firefighters Union President Frank Raffa said.

    The Worcester Fire Department members said they would never really get over the 1999 tragedy, but they said they will try to help Charleston through theirs.

    "Once a firefighter, always a firefighter. We carry that to the death -- whether it is in a building or if it is in a nursing home in old age," Raffa said.

    Members of the Worcester Fire Department left for South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...0&sectionId=56

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    Profiles

    ___Complete Profiles of Charleston's Bravest

    Capt. Billy Hutchinson

    To many of his fellow firefighters, Capt. Billy Hutchinson was more than just a veteran fire captain with three decades of service under his belt - he was also their barber.

    When he wasn't on duty or playing golf, Hutchinson, 48, worked a side job trimming hair at a barber shop in the Charleston area, Thomas said. He would even set up a chair at the fire station to give haircuts to co-workers dropping by during their shifts.

    Hutchinson was known for working at a slow, deliberate pace that earned him the nickname "Lightning." But Thomas said Hutchinson tackled his assignments head-on, from making sure his firefighters were trained to raising money for children's charities.
    Funeral Information
    William "Billy" Hutchinson

    Visitation for Captain Hutchinson will be held Thursday, June 21 at 5 p.m. at Henry Stuhr West Ashley Chapel.

    Funeral services will be held Friday, June 22 at 2 p.m. at Pinecrest Baptist Church.

    ================================================== ===============
    ___

    Capt. Mike Benke

    Despite his soft-spoken demeanor, Capt. Mike Benke had a quiet confidence and leadership abilities that were never questioned by Charleston firefighters.

    With nearly three decades at the department, Benke, 49, would fill in for battalion chiefs when they took vacation. And firefighters trusted in his experience when Benke gave orders, Thomas said.

    "When he spoke, they did what he said," Thomas said. "Everybody knew that
    he knew his job."

    Funeral Information
    Mike Benke

    Visitation for Captain Benke will be held Friday, June 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at J. Henry Stuhr Inc., West Ashley Chapel.

    Funeral Services will be held Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. at Palmetto Community Church.

    Interment will follow at Live Oak Memorial Gardens.
    ================================================== =============
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=56

    photo
    AP Photo/City of Charleston via The Post And Courier


    Charleston Captain Billy Hutchinson (left) and Captain Mike Benke.

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    Complete Profiles of Charleston's Bravest

    Capt. Louis Mulkey

    Capt. Louis Mulkey always found somebody to cover his shifts on Friday nights during football season so he could attend the games at his alma matter, Summerville High School. The 34-year-old Mulkey, a 1991 Summerville High graduate, had played defensive back and quarterback at the school, said Capt. Richard Waring, a friend since middle school. When he wasn't on duty, Mulkey volunteered as a coaching assistant for the high school's basketball and football teams.

    Many students he had coached came to his home Tuesday to see his wife, Lauren, after hearing Mulkey was among the firefighters killed, his cousin Kelly Lax, said.

    "They gave grief a new face," Lax said. "They were very much a part of this family."
    Funeral Information
    Louis Mulkey

    Visitation for Captain Mulkey will be held Friday, June 22 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 23 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the James A. Dyal Funeral Home.

    A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Summerville High School stadium.

    A graveside burial will held Sunday, June 24 at 5 p.m. at Summerville Cemetery.
    ================================================== ============
    ___

    Mark Kelsey

    During his time off from fighting fires in Charleston, Engineer Mark Kelsey worked about 20 miles up the road doing the same job for the Ashley River Fire Department.

    Kelsey, 40, loved firefighting so much, and was so aggressive at it "he was almost too good a firefighter to be in our department," Thomas said of the man who worked for the Charleston department for more than 12 years.

    His attitude was a bit more laid-back when it came to routine chores around the fire station, such as mopping the floor, Thomas said. But when a call came in, Kelsey always moved at full throttle - befitting a man who made his living driving fire trucks with sirens blaring.
    Funeral Information
    Mark Kelsey

    Funeral Services for Engineer Kelsey be held Tuesday, June 26 in his hometown of Washington, Indiana.

    From Charleston, Kelsey's casket will be taken by firetruck to the airport following the memorial service, flown to Indianapolis and driven home.


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

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=56
    ___AP Photo/City of Charleston via The Post And Courier


    Charleston Engineer Mark Kelsey (left) and Captain Louis Mulkey.

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    Complete Profiles of Charleston's Bravest

    Brad Baity

    Some firefighters might get excited, even flustered, rushing to a fire or other emergency. Not Engineer Brad Baity, who worked for the department for nine years.

    Baity, a 37-year-old fire truck driver, always exuded a quiet calm under the most stressful conditions, said Thomas.

    "In a day's time, I bet Brad wouldn't say 10 words," Thomas said. "When it's all smoldering, some people might raise their voices. But not Brad."

    Off duty, Baity worked part-time at a quieter job, as a house painter.
    Funeral information
    Bradford "Brad" Baity

    Visitation for Engineer Baity will be held Friday, June 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at West at Stuhr Funeral Home's West Ashley Chapel on 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

    Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 23 at 3 p.m. at Charleston Baptist Church at 13 Sam Miguel Road, Charleston, S.C.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ___

    Michael French

    It took Assistant Engineer Michael French only about a year at the Charleston Fire Department to be promoted to assistant engineer - meaning he sometimes got to drive fire trucks, a job most firefighters wait two or three years to get.

    Thomas said French, 27, had come highly recommended by his supervisors at the neighboring St. Andrews Fire Department, where he had worked about two years. He had worked in Charleston for about 18 months.

    "I don't know if he didn't get enough fires or excitement there," Thomas said. "He didn't care about the money."

    Thomas remembered seeing French surrounded by family after he graduated from the Charleston department's two-week recruiting class. The chief called it "the best day of Mikey French's entire life."

    Funeral info for Michael French.
    Visitation for Assistant Engineer French is Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 7 pm at the Dial-Murray Funeral Home Chapel.

    French's memorial service will be Sunday at 2 pm at the Berkeley High School gymnasium.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=56
    ___Photos below
    Charleston Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity (left) and Assistant Engineer Michael French.

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    Complete Profiles of Charleston's Bravest

    Brandon Thompson

    Firefighter Brandon Thompson hobbled into work on crutches last year, having broken his leg while helping a friend cut down a tree. He didn't have much sick time to take off, and wanted to keep working.

    So Thompson, 27, spent the next three months working with the fire department's mechanics. He would go out to check the water pressure on fire hydrants and fetch oil, gasoline and other things the mechanics needed.

    The chief said Thompson's father came with him to the station the day his son hobbled in on his broken leg because he was so concerned for his job.

    On Monday, after learning the four-year veteran was inside the burning furniture store when it collapsed, Thompson's father went to the scene of the fire. Thomas said he refused to leave until he saw for himself that his son's body had been recovered and carried out.
    Funeral Information
    Brandon Thompson

    Visitation for Firefighter Thompson will be held Friday, June 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Parks Funeral Home.

    Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Stratford gymnasium.

    Burial will follow at the Plantation Memorial Gardens.

    ================================================== ===============
    ___

    Melven Champaign

    Charleston firefighters called Firefighter Melven Champaign "Pimp Daddy" for his flashy wardrobe of silk shirts, leather caps and shiny new sneakers, but Champaign was more than a smooth dresser.

    The 46-year-old often quoted Bible verses in conversation. And though he was past 40 when he joined the Charleston Fire Department two years ago, his motives were as altruistic as a young man half his age, Thomas said.

    "He told me, `Chief, I just want to help people,'" Thomas said. "I never asked him about his age. I didn't even know how old he was."
    Funeral information
    Melven Champaign

    Funeral Services for Firefighter Champaign will be held Monday, June 25 at 12 p.m. at Emanuael Baptist Church located at 1440 Folly Road in James Island, S.C.

    Burial will follow at Stem Point Cemetery on James Island

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=56
    photos below AP Photo/City of Charleston via The Post And Courier


    Charleston Firefighters Brandon Thompson (left) and Melven Champaign.

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    Complete Profiles of Charleston's Bravest

    By RUSS BYNUM
    Associated Press Writer

    CHARLESTON, S.C. --

    James Earl Drayton's nickname around the fire station was "Squirrel," for no reason other than it rhymed with his name.
    But the 56-year-old never sought above being a rank-and-file firefighter - a job he loved, said Fire Chief Rusty Thomas.

    Drayton was an outgoing man who had a habit of jangling loose change in his pocket when he talked.

    Thomas, who worked shifts with Drayton before becoming chief, laughed while recalling one night when they were watching TV at the station until the dispatcher called them about a fire. Drayton heard the address and shot out of his seat and ran to the truck.

    "He said, `Rusty, get this thing going! That's my house!'" Thomas recalled with a chuckle.
    ================================================== =============
    Funeral information

    James 'Earl' Allen Drayton

    Funeral services for Firefighter Drayton will be set at a later date.

    Friends are welcome to call on the family at 127 Marion Road, Summerville, S.C


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...2&sectionId=56
    ___AP Photo/City of Charleston via The Post And Courier

    Charleston Firefighter James Earl Drayton

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    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

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    Memorial Service for The Fallen Charleston, S.C Firefighters

    Memorial Service for The Fallen Charleston, S.C Firefighters


    Updated: 06-20-2007 02:23:22 PM

    Firehouse.Com News

    A memorial service has been planned for the 9 fallen firefighters.
    Friday, June 22, 2007 at 10 a.m.

    It will be held at the North Charleston Coliseum
    5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston.

    There also will be a non-denominational service held June 20. Brith Sholom Beth Israel Congregation will be hosting a non-denominational vigil and memorial service from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 182 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, N.C. The vigil is open to the public.

    A prayer service for the fallen firefighters will be held at Seacoast Church West Campus at 2049 Savannah Highway in West Ashley starting at 7 p.m. on June 20 to honor and pray for the families and colleagues of the firefighters.
    VEHICLES AND APPARATUS

    For agencies sending VEHICLES AND APPARATUS to Charleston on Friday to participate in the memorial procession, the following information applies:


    Staging location: the corner of Concord & Washington in downtown Charleston.
    Staging Time: 0500
    Staging Officer: B/C Robbie Williams-St. Johns FD. Staging Contact (Fri. Morning): 843-200-6798 (Please only call if you have a problem, get lost etc...otherwise proceed to the above location starting at 0500 hours)

    HOTELS

    The following is a list of hotels that have rooms available for those coming into town for the services. Several are offering discount rates for firefighters coming to town for the service. Ask at the desk.


    Ramada on Northwoods Blvd. (843) 572-2200
    Days Inn at 2998 W Montague (843)747-4101
    Radisson on N. Aviation (843) 744-2501
    Comfort Inn Coliseum (843) 225-6681


    FLOWERS AND CARDS

    For agencies that wish to send FLOWERS, CARDS and other remembrances, send them to:

    City of Charleston Fire Department

    "In Memory of the CFD 9 Firefighters"

    46-1/2 Wentworth Street

    Charleston, SC 29401

    MEMORIAL FUND

    A fund has been established for the fallen firefighters. Donations can be sent to: The City of Charleston Firemen's Fund, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, SC, 29402.


    Firehouse.com will be updating this story as more details become available.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=56&id=55179

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    Firefighters scramble to get to S.C.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007
    Firefighters scramble to get to S.C.

    30,000 are expected at memorial tomorrow

    By Richard Nangle TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    rnangle@telegram.com

    Delegations of firefighters from all over Central Massachusetts were scrambling to book flights and hotel rooms yesterday after officials in Charleston, S.C., scheduled for tomorrow a memorial service for the nine firefighters killed there in a warehouse blaze.

    Worcester firefighters estimated that 50 to 100 of their colleagues might be making the trip, but said the immediacy of the service left no time to coordinate a plan or accurately count the number of people who will attend.

    Firefighters were left to make arrangements on their own. Those unable to get a flight were planning to drive or travel by train.


    Worcester Fire Chief Gerard A. Dio and Firefighter Frank P. Raffa, president of Local 1009 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, arrived in Charleston at 2:30 yesterday morning in an effort to help that city

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    Fallen Charleston, S.C. Firefighters Mourned

    Fallen Charleston, S.C. Firefighters Mourned

    Updated: 06-22-2007 12:04:19 PM

    SUSAN NICOL KYLE
    Firehouse.Com News

    CHARLESTON, S.C.-- More than 200 fire engines, ladders and other apparatus of every make, model and color draped in black bunting paraded through downtown.

    "There were people everywhere, holding up signs thanking us. The whole city shut down for the day," Darren Terry, driver for the Hartsville, S.C. Fire Department. "They were waving flags. There was a giant flag hanging from an overpass. People waved."

    Thousands of firefighters from around the world -- from the tiniest volunteer company to large metropolitan departments -- are here this morning to honor their fallen brothers.

    Nine hearses lined the curb outside the coliseum.

    Despite the number of personnel and citizens assembled, it was quiet. Conversations were conducted in low voices.

    Nine flag draped coffins are positioned in front of the stage.

    An orchestra performed as the crowd filed in to take their seats.

    Brian McGeehan, with the Dublin Fire Brigade, said he was honored to be present. He said if there'd been more time, a contingent would have come to honor their American brothers, "But, it's just me."

    McGeehan, a firefighter for 26 years, said the fire service is one huge family worldwide. "You walk into a station whether it's in Dublin or wherever, and tell them you're a firefighter and you are welcome."

    He said there was little publicity about the deaths of the nine firefighters in Ireland. "I changed my vacation plans, and threw things in a bag. It's just sad we don't see a gathering like this unless it's for a sad reason."

    McGeehan's wife is from South Carolina.

    A third generation fireman from Darlington, S.C. said nothing would have kept him away. "I just can't believe it. How horrible to lose nine. It's bad enough to lose one," said Chief Jim Stone.

    "It's devastating. I can't imagine how it would be to deal with it."

    Two Vancouver firefighters said the trip to Charleston was the least they could do to honor their brothers.

    Gord Ditchburn said they want the families to know their loved ones' lives were not lost in vain. "We need to stay together at a time like this.

    Ditchburn said he was representing the Province as well as his fire department.

    Tim Wilkinson, president of the Richmond Fire Fighters Association, said the fire family has no boundaries. "We're here to honor them."
    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=55219
    AP Photo/Dave Martin
    An honor guard stands at attention by a row of nine caskets prior to the memorial service in North Charleston, S.C., June 22.

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    Brotherhood of honor

    Saturday, June 23, 2007
    Brotherhood of honor

    Firefighters across nation band in grief

    By Richard Nangle TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    rnangle@telegram.com


    CHARLESTON, S.C.

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    Tribute to the Charleston 9

    Carolina Tribute


    God bless the giving souls
    Of our nine Carolina brothers
    They offered up their lives
    In selfless service to others

    When the bell tipped for them
    On the night of 18 June
    There was no way of knowing
    Tragedy would strike so soon

    Initial reports were people inside
    This massive sofa showcase
    With fire in the truss-roofed building
    These firefighters were in a race

    Collapse is an ever present threat
    Of which firefighters are aware
    But when lives are in the balance
    It

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