New Worcester fire station honors past members

By JOHN SULLIVAN Correspondent

1st Responder Newspaper Story Number 102208104
Disclaimer: This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the
1st Responder newsroom.

It seems nearly impossible to believe that December 3rd, 2008 will mark the 9th anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse fire. Though the sands of time may pass, and the initial anguish of that fateful night may have subsided, the memory of Paul, Jerry, Tom, Tim, Jay and Joe will never fade.

Firefighter’s Paul Brotherton and Jeremiah “Jerry” Lucey of Rescue 1 were among the first to enter the building that heartbreaking night in search of two homeless people thought to be still inside. Their search would take them deep into the cavernous building, searching above the fire, the most dangerous task any firefighter must undertake. Without hesitation, without reservation; only to become disoriented in the maze of interconnected rooms. Time and air were running out.

More than a dozen, firefighters entered the building to search for the Rescue 1 team. Unfortunately those search efforts became tragic themselves when four more firefighters were unable to navigate their way back out of the building; Lt. Tom Spencer and Firefighter Tim Jackson of Ladder 2 had paired up with Firefighter’s Jay Lyons and Joe McGuirk of Engine 3.

The valiant firefighting efforts below the search were unable to contain the escalating fire. Asphalt impregnated cork (12-inches thick) along with multiple layers of hydrocarbon based wall coverings fueled an intense, fast-moving blaze. In the end, these six brave men had made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives for the lives of others. The sacrifice made by these six courageous men has forever changed the face of American fire service.

Today, the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse building is gone, but the ground remains forever hallowed. The city of Worcester is ready to celebrate the opening of its newest fire house, the Franklin Street Fire Station, on this very site. This station will serve the city residents as a living memorial to our fallen heroes.

Fire Chief Gerard A. Dio of the Worcester Fire Department along with the Worcester Firefighters Safety and Survival seminar have commissioned renowned fire service Sculptor Brian Hanlon to design and construct a “remembrance wall” for the new Franklin Street fire station. This stunning tribute and its two accompanying bronze figures will be unveiled at the annual commemoration ceremony on December 3rd, 2008 following the traditional “last alarm” announcement at 6:13 p.m.

This remembrance wall is an exceptional, one of a kind memorial, funded exclusively by firefighters. Your participation in the past Worcester Firefighters Safety and Survival seminars has provided the bulk of the funds needed for this project. Other contributions from firefighter sponsored events have added to the funding. Nearly $80,000 dollars of an estimated $110,000 price tag has already been raised.
The Worcester Firefighters Safety and Survival seminar is back to help close the funding gap. An exciting one-day seminar will be held on Wednesday December 3rd, 2008 from 8a-4p at the National Guard Armory at Grove and Salisbury Streets, Worcester, MA. Come see FDNY’s own Battalion Chief John Salka, Capt. Mike Duggan, and Lt. Mickey Conboy along with LA County Deputy Chief John Tripp as they pay homage to the Worcester 6 and provide four outstanding fire service training programs. The price for this all-day seminar is $100.00 and all proceeds will be directed to fund the wall. These nationally recognized speakers are donating their time and services to this important event. Attendees of the seminar are invited to attend the remembrance wall dedication ceremony and a casual reception following the service.

Along with the seminar, another fund-raising event is also underway. The seminar committee in cooperation with Herb Chambers Motors is raffling a 2009 Honda Civic LX! Only 500 tickets will be sold for this awesome car. Tickets are $100.00 and proceeds in excess of the cost of the car will be used to offset the remaining cost of the remembrance wall. The drawing will be held the night of the dedication ceremony; entrants do not have to be present to win.

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at the Worcester Fire Department Credit Union, Glennie Street, Worcester, MA or by contacting any member of the seminar committee. Inquiries for the raffle and seminar can be directed to Lt. John Daly @ 508-423-4799 or Direct donations can also be made to the Worcester Firefighters Safety and Survival Seminar fund c/o Lt. John Daly, 141 Grove Street, Worcester, MA 01605.

Please come and be part of this historic occasion and help us to honor our commitment to our fallen brothers: “We Will Never Forget”.