Thursday, November 5, 2009

10-year anniversary events to honor 6 fallen firefighters


By Scott J. Croteau TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
scroteau@telegram.com


WORCESTER — The city is planning memorial events in recognition of the six firefighters who died a decade ago battling a fire at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co.

Besides events being held Dec. 3 at the Franklin Street Fire Station, built at the site of the Dec. 3, 1999, fire, the state's annual Firefighter of the Year ceremony will be held that day at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. The latter event is usually held in Boston.

City officials said invitations have been sent to several public officials, among them Vice President Joe Biden.

The events will honor the fallen firefighters — Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk, and Lts. Timothy P. Jackson Sr., Thomas E. Spencer and James F. “Jay” Lyons III.

District Fire Chief Frank D. DiLiddo III said today there will be a memorial Mass at the station, but the official start time has not been determined yet. The names of the fallen firefighters will be read at 6:13 p.m. and the symbolic bell will clang, noting the time Fire Alarm Box 1438 was struck on that December evening a decade ago.

“We're expecting firefighters from across the country to come,” Chief DiLiddo said, noting he received calls from as far as Nebraska. “We're expecting a large turnout.”

The decades-old vacant meatpacking warehouse at the edge of Interstate 290 has been replaced by a new city fire station — a building fire officials have called a fitting memorial for their lost brothers.

About 2,000 people attended the dedication of the new fire station. City officials expect that number could double for the 10-year anniversary event on Dec. 3.

Before the memorial event, the state Department of Fire Services and Executive Office of Public Safety will hold the awards event at the Hanover Theatre. The governor is slated to be on hand for the 2 p.m. event.

Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for the Department of Fire Services, said the event was moved to Worcester because of the 10-year anniversary memorial Mass being held here. It is expected that those attending the awards ceremony will then attend the memorial event.

The last time the Firefighter of the Year awards was held in Worcester was nine years ago at Mechanics Hall. Then-Gov. Paul Cellucci handed the families of the fallen firefighters replicas of their badges.

A filmed remembrance of the events surrounding the blaze was played.

Several Worcester firefighters will receive awards for their work at the ceremony.

Officials could not name the firefighters or the awards they will receive, but said they will be honored for fighting two fires over the year and for their work with the United Way.

Ms. Mieth said firefighters who saved residents' lives in the March 5 fire at 167 Pleasant St. in Worcester are among the award recipients. Also firefighters who volunteer their time to build handicap ramps for the United Way will be honored.

http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...911059982/1116