June 19, 2007

There are no words

Charleston, SC mourns nine of its bravest today:

Fire swept through a furniture warehouse, collapsing its roof and killing nine firefighters inside 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. One was rescued quickly, and firefighters punched a hole through a wall of the warehouse to reach the other, he said.

Firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers saluted as the firefighters' bodies were carried from the warehouse during the night.

"To lose nine is just a tragedy of immense proportions," Riley said. "To lose nine is just unbelievable."

The department has 237 firefighters in 19 companies located throughout the city of about 106,000.

My heart goes out to their families and they are in my thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE: The nine Firefighters have been identified

Capt. William "Billy" Hutchinson, 48
Capt. Mike Benke, 49
Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34
Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40
Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, 37
Assistant Engineer Michael French, 27
James "Earl" Drayton, 56
Brandon Thompson, 27
Melven Champaign, 46


Posted by caltechgirl at June 19, 2007 10:29 AM | TrackBack

Absolutely tragic - my heart just breaks...

Posted by: Richmond at June 19, 2007 10:45 AM

God bless those men and their families.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at June 19, 2007 02:41 PM