During a recent vacation to visit friends in Charleston/SC, I had the oppurtunity to view the site of Sofa Super Store fire which tragically ended the lives of 9 firefighters in June of 2007. I apollogize for the condition of the photos, but it was raining off and on throughout the day.
I was told the city, union, & the firefighters families were still trying to come up with a permanent memorial for the firefighters. At this point the city took over the property and fenced the area off. Flags are placed at 9 spots where all the bodies were recovered, with a larger flag placed in the center of the property. Small mementos were placed around the individual flags, most notable a childrens fire chief's pedal car.
|Company||Rank||Name||Age||Years of Service|
|Engine 15||Captain||Louis Mulkey||34||11½ years|
|Engine 16||Captain||Mike Benke||49||29 years|
|Engine 16||Firefighter||Melven Champaign||46||2 years|
|Engine 19||Captain||William "Billy" Hutchinson||48||30 years|
|Engine 19||Engineer||Bradford "Brad" Baity||37||9 years|
|Engine 19||Firefighter||James "Earl" Drayton||56||32 years|
|Tower 5||Engineer||Mark Kelsey||40||12½ years|
|Tower 5||Engineer||Michael French||27||1½ years|
|Tower 5||Firefighter||Brandon Thompson||27||4 years|
I won't try to list all the actions taken as you can click the different sites and read for yourself. I can't help but think how easily this could happen here in the city or anywhere in Berks county.
(Aerial view after the fire from the Charleston Post & Courier)
Interactive Timeline of Events from the post & courier