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Thread: 9 Firefighters Killed in South Carolina Sofa Store Blaze

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    9 Firefighters Killed in South Carolina Sofa Store Blaze

    9 Firefighters Killed in South Carolina Sofa Store Blaze

    SUSAN NICOL KYLE
    Firehouse.Com News

    CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Mayor Joe Riley confirmed on CNN this morning that nine firefighters were were killed Monday night in a massive blaze at a sofa store and warehouse here.

    Most were killed he said, when a large set of shelves collapsed in the rear of the one-story building. He did not think there were sprinklers in the building. He also said the firefighters were looking for employees at the time and had no warning about the inpending tragedy.

    Other local news organizations were reporting the store's roof collapsed and sent debris over about two-dozen rescue workers while spectators were hit with flying ash.

    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."

    There were reports of other firefighters injured as well.

    Video of the scene showed a line of firefighters standing at attention, saluting as the bodies of the firefighters were carried from the building.

    A crisis team from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was deployed, and were en route to Charleston just after midnight, said Ron Siarnicki, NFFF executive director.

    "The team will be in Charleston to help the department in any way it can. We're there to support them during this time."

    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/Charleston-SC-Tragedy/Reports-Say-9-Firefighters-Killed-in-South-Carolina-Sofa-Store-Blaze/56$55139

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    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.

    # Charleston Chief Speaks of Tragedy

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

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

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=56&id=55156

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    Nine Charleston Firefighters Perish in Blaze

    By BRUCE SMITH
    Associated Press Writer

    Editor's Note: 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.

    CHARLESTON, S.C. --

    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/web/online/Charleston-SC-Tragedy/Nine-Charleston-Firefighters-Perish-in-Blaze/56$55141

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