The Lady Speaks

9 Firefighters Killed in S.C.

Nine Charleston firefighters were killed fighting a blaze at a furniture warehouse.

From MSNBC.com:

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.”

[snip]

The warehouse was packed with furniture and the blaze “rolled through it like a fireball” while the firefighters were trying to put it out overnight, said Pam Blevins, secretary to the Charleston City fire chief, Russell Thomas.

“All we know is nine firefighters, all at once …” Blevins told Reuters by telephone, choking up with emotion. “The building collapsed on them.”

[snip]

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.” [my emphasis]

*

The Firefighter’s Prayer:

When I am called to duty,
Whenever flames may rage,
Give me strength to save a life
Whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout
And quickly and efficiently
Put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling
To give the best in me
To guard my every neighbor,
protect his property.

And if according to Your will
I must answer death’s last call
Bless with Your protecting hand
My family one and all.

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June 19, 2007 - Posted by | America, Firefighters

6 Comments »

  1. This is the risk firefighters face every day, and at almost every call. My heart goes out to the families, friends, and firefighters every where, for this tragic loss.

    Like they said on 9/11: “They ran in, while everyone else, was running out.”

    Let us take time to thank them, and say a prayer for all the families left behind.

    Comment by mom | June 19, 2007 | Reply

  2. R.I.P. I worked with firefighters/paramedics when I ran an aquatic complex. They would conduct training along side me and never said no when I needed help. Always willing to “teach.” They helped with severe weather training and even came out on a “training” call for a drowning. It takes a special kind of person to become a firefighter. Selfless, compassionate people. Another thing, and this probably happens all around the country. People would bitch about their salaries and say, well they sit around the fire house most the time. Ridiculous argument. But people would bitch every year when the municipality would make public the salaries. They deserve every penny they get, and then some. My prayers are with the families, coworkers and friends of these special men.

    And hi Pa!!! Hope all’s good with you!!

    Comment by QuestionGirl | June 20, 2007 | Reply

  3. Hi to you QG! Things are going – better than two weeks ago … and improving daily. I haven’t been online as much, but I’m still reading the Herald everyday! (And trying to figure out how to listen to BH’s podcasts… I’m so techologically-inept!)

    What you said about how the emergency folks you know were always there to help out – that’s one of the most important ingredients in emergency personnel I’ve noticed – the willingness to be there, whenever, for friends and strangers alike.

    I remember living in Phoenix, and hearing the same complaints. “What are we paying them for – sitting on their asses?” But, of course, the minute a fire broke out, or paramedics or the police were needed…then it was “What took you so long?”

    Since most PA firefighters and EMS personnel are volunteers, they get called out in the middle of the night, during meals, special events (like my wedding!) and holidays. They work at regular jobs and still fight fires, deal with accidents/medical issues – plus pay for continuing certification courses – all of it on their own time and their own dime. And if they die at a scene, the best they can hope for is that the community will rally around their families, financially and emotionally.

    Comment by PA_Lady | June 20, 2007 | Reply

  4. Pa, I agree with all you said. I live in PA as well and personally know several volunteers. I appreciate all they do. They are under the radar and go un-noticed and its a shame that this is how they get attention, in death. Everyone should be so thankful for these thankless individuals who put there lives at risk for those they don’t even know. Let this tragedy wake up America to these selfless human beings and thank them.

    Comment by bobbett | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  5. If this does not institutute a nationwide ban on smoking in the workplace, I do not know what will. Do not give me that garbage about individual rights. Those firefighters had a right to go to work that day without being murdered by someone who couldn’t wait eight hours to have a cigarette.

    Comment by Kathleen Powers | June 22, 2007 | Reply

  6. I am trying to obtain the beautiful prayer of invocation at the 9 firefighters’ memorial service by Chaplain Rob Dewey with the Costal Crisis Chaplaincy, Charleston, SC at the colliseum. Did anyone by chance record the service?
    It would mean so much to me to have that prayer, delivered on June 22, 2007.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Linda Case | June 22, 2007 | Reply


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