Honoring The Charleston Nine
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The City of Charleston and the Lowcountry will pause to remember the ultimate sacrifice of nine brave firefighters killed in the line of duty six years ago Tuesday.
That blaze at the Sofa Super Store in West Ashley led to the most firefighters lives lost in a single event since 9/11.
The public is invited out to a public memorial at the site tonight to remember the lives lost and look towards the future. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m.
The fire began an era of change at the Charleston Fire Department.
Former Chief Tom Carr led that change, improving training and response tactics throughout the city.
He also helped bring better technology to the department like locator air packs and GPS laptops.
"You have to look at it and say, 'Ya it was a big part of our change,'" said CFD Captain Laval Green. "That fire was a big impact on what we now are doing to better serve the community, better protect ourselves."
The department also now has heat-sensitive cameras and responds with four-person crews instead of three.
Since midnight Tuesday, Charleston Fire Department personnel have kept watch at the flagpole of the memorial site and they will do so all day to honor their fellow brothers lost in the fire.In addition to a flagpole at the memorial site there are nine markers signifying the location where the nine victims were found when they lost their lives fighting the fire.There are also nine crosses along the highway honoring the heroes.
The memorial is still in what the city calls Phase 1 of development.Fire department officials say that donations are still needed to take the memorial to where they want it to be.Tuesday night's remembrance ceremony starts at 7 p.m. at the site on Savannah Highway in West Ashley. It will include a lineup of Charleston Fire Department officials plus a reading of the names of the nine men that were lost, followed by ringing of the bell and bagpipes.
If you can't make it to West Ashley for the service, ABC News 4 will be airing a special presentation of "Charleston 9: The Ultimate Sacrifice".
The twenty-five minute documentary provides an overview of the department's changes and improvements over the last six years.
ABC News 4 will air the video at 7:30 p.m. on June 18.