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Thread: In Memory of the Worcester Six

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    In Memory of the Worcester Six

    Dec 3rd 1999 Dec 3rd 2009

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    10th Anniversary

    Service today.

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    Firefighter Timmy Jackson

    When we were young.
    Till we meet again..

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    Anniversary attracts thousands to fire site

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Anniversary attracts thousands to fire site
    WORCESTER 6

    By Danielle M. Horn TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


    WORCESTER — Ten years ago tonight, virtually anyone in the city could look to the sky and see a cloud of smoke rising up from downtown. Drivers on Interstate 290 saw the outline of the now infamous Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building, its roof disappearing under steady streams of water.

    Another spectacle greeted visitors and passers-by tonight, on and near the site that is now considered hallowed ground. There, one could observe not a massive firefighting effort at an abandoned meatpacking warehouse, but an enormous gathering of firefighters who came from all over the region to pay respects to six Worcester firefighters and their families.

    Many firefighters fought back tears. They bowed their heads, not in despair, but in remembrance. And the only smoke that filled the air was from the chimneys of the Kenmore Diner next-door.

    With the 10th anniversary of the Cold Storage fire came a moving and emotional tribute to Lts. Timothy P. Jackson Sr., James F. Lyons III and Thomas E. Spencer, and Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk. Since 2000, the Worcester 6, as the men are collectively known, have been honored each Dec. 3 at the site of their last fire.

    The “W6,” emblem is tattooed on the hearts, minds, and for some, the skin, of people who remember that fateful night 10 years ago.

    As many as 500 firefighters in dress uniform filled Franklin Street, and with the year-old fire station built as a living memorial to the men, formed a protective barrier around the firefighters' widows, parents and grown children. Police estimated roughly 3,000 people turned out for the annual ceremony, during which a recording of the initial fire call was played, and a bell rang for each of the six.

    Speakers included Gov. Deval L. Patrick and actor Denis Leary, a Worcester native and the cousin of Firefighter Lucey, who through the Leary Firefighters Foundation, has donated $2.5 million to the department and more throughout the country.

    “I feel that part of what happened that night needs to be talked about all the time,” Mr. Leary said, thanking firefighters for their service and sharing a fond memory about his cousin's love for the profession.

    “While we can never forget … life goes on,” said Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, the city's former mayor. “Children grow. Families find the spirit to enjoy the lives that they have. And they should.”

    http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...912039967/1116
    Picture
    Worcester Firefighter Steve Saksa attends the memorial service with his 2-year-old grandson Noah Gurlick at Franklin Street Station in Worcester tonight. (T&G Photo/RICK CINCLAIR)

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    A somber remembrance

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    A somber remembrance
    HUNDREDS RECALL FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS



    By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    bkush@telegram.com


    WORCESTER — The crackling, recorded voice of the fire dispatcher dispassionately “striking” Fire Alarm Box 1438 cut chillingly through the cold, starless night air.

    Some solemnly bowed their heads. Others quietly wept.

    It was 10 years ago last night that the dispatch was originally broadcast, sending six men to their deaths and shrouding the Worcester community in grief.

    Yesterday, hundreds somberly gathered along lower Franklin Street to remember that infamous night when the sky near Union Station was curtained with sheets of orange flame and the frigid air was filled with billowing, acrid smoke.

    More importantly, they proudly paid tribute to the so-called Worcester Six, who unflinchingly entered a burning vault to save others and never came out, their valiant sacrifices ultimately becoming an uplifting chapter in the city's history.

    Politicians and businessmen joined shopkeepers, factory workers, office clerks, waitresses and other folks at the memorial service for the men of Rescue 1, Ladder 2 and Engine 3 who perished after getting lost in the dark catacombs of the huge Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building.

    On the tragedy's 10th anniversary, it was clear that the efforts by Firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Jeremiah M. Lucey and Joseph T. McGuirk, and Lts. Thomas E. Spencer, James F. “Jay” Lyons and Timothy P. Jackson were not forgotten.

    Many who came to the service didn't know the firefighters. Others took time off from work.

    Kathleen Dillaire and her daughter, Alyssa, were at the scene when the inferno raged through the cavernous building.

    “We knew that we'd never witness anything as tragic again,” Mrs. Dillaire said.

    The two, who live in Worcester, had not returned to the site, deemed by many as “hallowed ground,” until last night.

    Alyssa Dillaire said she felt that it was important to attend the ceremony because she attends classes at Anna Maria College in Paxton with one of Firefighter Brotherton's sons and because her boyfriend, Daniel Driscoll, is a member of the Brookfield Fire Department.

    Around 5 p.m., a sea of firefighters wearing navy blue dress uniforms and white gloves marched the short distance from Union Station to the Cold Storage and Warehouse parcel, which is now home to a firehouse and a 12-by-6-foot memorial to the fallen firefighters.

    Led by a pipe and drum corps made up of members of Worcester and other fire departments, the firefighters — from all corners of the country and from Canada — joined the families of the dead firefighters and others who had already gathered at the fire station for the ceremony.

    In the opening prayer, the Rev. Walter J. Riley, the Roman Catholic chaplain for the Worcester Fire Department, said that there's no greater love than that expressed by an individual laying down his or her life for another.

    After a recitation of the Firefighter's Prayer by the Rev. Roosevelt Hughes, the Protestant chaplain, the city's political leaders noted that the tragedy bonded and will forever have an impact on those who live in Central Massachusetts.

    For example, Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray said that, until 1999, Dec. 3 was just another day on the calendar and that the community can never forget the pain and loss that occurred on that date.

    But he stressed that “life has to go on” and noted that the 10th anniversary should serve as “a turning point.”

    Gov. Deval L. Patrick suggested that the best way to honor the dead firefighters was to live a life of service.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern said that much good came out of the tragedy, noting the incident led to better training and equipment and more streamlined communication for firefighters responding to emergencies.

    He noted that, since 2001, the federal government has provided about $4 billion to fire service agencies.

    Dennis Budd, who was fire chief at the time of the fire, could not attend the memorial but sent a letter, which was read at the ceremony. In it, he said that hundreds of personal stories are etched in the minds of those who witnessed the tragedy and added that there never will be complete closure for those involved.

    Yet, he wrote that he prays regularly that those impacted can find some way to cope.

    Television actor and comedian Denis Leary, a cousin of Firefighter Lucey, said people shouldn't be afraid of remembering and talking about the dead firefighters.

    “It's important,” said Mr. Leary, who was lauded at the program for providing millions of dollars worth of aid to fire departments across the country, including Worcester's.

    At 6:13 p.m., fire officials played the haunting tape of the deadly dispatch.

    A silver bell then clanged each time that Fire Chief Gerard A. Dio read one of the names of the dead firefighters.

    After the families had placed wreaths at the memorial, the dead firefighters were honored with a 21-gun salute.

    A soulful rendition of “Amazing Grace” by the pipe and drum corps followed.

    In closing the program, Chief Dio, echoed the sentiments of some of the ceremony's other speakers, saying it was time to look past the sorrow and noted that “a spark from the blaze” has led to the upgrading of firefighting services.

    “To all of you, we give you our heartfelt thanks,” he said.

    http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...912040424/1116
    Picture
    In the blue light surrounding a monument dedicated to the Worcester Six, two firefighters salute yesterday after placing a wreath during a memorial service at Franklin Street Station in Worcester. (T&G Staff/RICK CINCLAIR)

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    The Fire That Still Burns.

    Story link from Worcester Magazine.
    http://worcestermagazine.com/content/view/4823/

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    Mass for Firefighters tomorrow at St. Paul

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Mass for Firefighters tomorrow at St. Paul’s


    By Bronislaus B. Kush TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
    bkush@telegram.com


    WORCESTER — The Diocese of Worcester will honor a number of Central Massachusetts firefighters tomorrow for their heroic actions or community service during the past year.

    St. Florian Awards will be presented to the firefighters during the 12th annual Mass for Firefighters at 10:15 a.m. in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Chatham Street.

    As in the past nine years, the six firefighters who died in the Dec. 3, 1999, blaze at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building will be memorialized at the Mass, which will be celebrated by Bishop Robert J. McManus.

    Those to be honored with St. Florian Awards are: Firefighter Anthony Alario, Gardner Fire Department; Fire Lt. Roberto Alicea and Firefighter Todd Reese, Fitchburg Fire Department; and Fire Lt. James Peltier and his father, Safety Officer Jack Peltier, Southboro Fire Department.

    The diocese will also honor the Worcester Fire Department’s “Ramp Gang” for building ramps over the years for the area’s handicapped and elderly. Fire Lt. Donald Courtney will receive the award on behalf of the group.

    “These men deserve recognition for going out of their way to help others,” said the Rev. Walter J. Riley, the Roman Catholic chaplain of the Worcester Fire Department.

    According to church officials, Firefighter Alario rescued a man from a fire on Jan. 5 at 71 Lake St., Gardner. He pushed a heavy-set, wheelchair-bound man from the building. Officials said the chair’s wheels were immobilized at the time of the rescue.

    On Sept. 16, Lt. Alicea and Firefighter Reese, responding to a mutual aid call, pulled an unconscious 16-year-old from a fire at 179 West St., Leominster. Both firefighters were running out of air during a search of the burning building.

    While at the National Firefighting Academy in Maryland, the Peltiers, both Marlboro residents, learned that the economically ailing Johnson County in Arkansas was in desperate need of a firetruck. With the help of contributors, they purchased an engine truck and refurbished it with working equipment, donating it to the county.

    Florian is the Catholic patron saint of firefighters. He was a commander in the Roman Empire and his responsibilities included organizing fire brigades. He was martyred for his faith.

    http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...342/1101/LOCAL

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    Sharks, DCU pay tribute

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Sharks, DCU pay tribute
    Fans learn lessons about firefighting



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

    WORCESTER — Jack and Katie Adiletta watched intently as Firefighter Seamus Shanley from Engine 13 held an air tank in his hands.

    The firefighter carefully explained to the young children from Bolton about the use of compressed air and how long the tank could be used in a fire — about 20 minutes, he said.

    The children, ages 7 and 4, came to the DCU Center for the Worcester Sharks game, but wanted to take part in the added bonus available yesterday. The DCU Center and Worcester Sharks rolled out all sorts of activities for children, along with a memorial to the six Worcester firefighters who died 10 years ago in the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire.

    “They love firemen,” the children's mother, Karen Adiletta, said. “They (firefighters) are always ready to show them, to teach them something.”

    She took the children to the DCU for the game, but having Engine 13 outside was an added incentive to go, she admitted.

    “We all know how important the Worcester Fire Department is,” she said.

    Firefighter Shanley pulled out an ax and showed the children other equipment as other firefighters guided people through the front of the engine.

    Inside, members of the Worcester Fire and Police departments took the ice against Providence firefighters in a hockey game.

    It was all part of the DCU and Worcester Sharks' tribute to the Worcester Six.

    The lobby was full of items in remembrance of Lt. James F. Lyons III, Lt. Thomas E. Spencer, Lt. Timothy P. Jackson, Firefighter Paul A. Brotherton, Firefighter Jeremiah M. Lucey and Firefighter Joseph T. McGuirk.

    People walked through the lobby looking at blankets, letters from children and other items people left at the scene of the fire as a memorial to the six firefighters. A fence resembling one at the fire scene 10 years ago was also inside the lobby. It was covered with Fire Department patches, pictures and shirts.
    http://www.telegram.com/article/2009...330/1101/LOCAL
    Picture
    Worcester Fire Chief Gerard Dio raises the banner honoring six fallen firefighters before the start of the Sharks game against the Portland Pirates. He is surrounded by family members of the firefighters. (T&G Staff Photos / CHRISTINE PETERSON)

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    20th Firefighter of the Year Awards


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    10 Year Worcester Memorial Photos Link.


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