Crew, family members to hold ceremony for Charleston 9

The 24 hour watch (Stefanie Bainum/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A ceremony commemorating the seventh anniversary of the Sofa Super Store fire is being held Wednesday night.

Wednesday marks seven years since nine brave souls lost their lives fighting the furniture store fire west of the Ashley.

According to Charleston Fire Department officials, the bravery of the Charleston 9 will be remembered with a ceremony on the site of the tragedy on Savannah Highway.

It was a day of one of the greatest losses of firefighter life since 9/11, and right now brothers in the Charleston Fire Department are taking watch to remember the lives lost on that day.

There are houses that sit just beyond the trees of the Sofa Super Store site. Many of those families were home seven years ago and remember seeing and feeling the heat of the massive blaze.

One resident said she did all she could to help, not knowing the fire had claimed lives just yards away.

"They were coming over our fence and we were giving them water and, we could see the somber look on their faces," said Julie Cole. "And at the time, we didn't realize that there was loss of life."

Cole's home was one of many that could have been lost if the fire had not been contained. Another home, a full 50 feet away from the blaze was damaged by the heat, despite the wall of water firefighters kept going between the furniture store and the houses behind it.

"We had total confidence in them. They protected us. They protected our homes and our street," Cole said. "I'm very sentimental about that. Gosh. Such a sacrifice they made for all of us."

Cole still has pictures of the fire . She says she and her family will be forever indebted to the City of Charleston Fire Department.

"I would say thank you so much for your sacrifice," she said. "Such a personal tragedy for you. It was for us and the whole community and city."

Firefighters have been at the flagpole of the memorial site since midnight and they will continue to do so for 24 hours.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. and will include reading the names of the Charleston 9, a ringing of the bell and live bagpipes.

The event is open to the public. Department and family members will be present. Parking is limited and visitors are asked to use off-site parking in the immediate area.

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