On December 3, 2014, the IAFF is remembering the six members of Worcester, MA Local 1009 – Thomas Spencer, Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey, James Lyons and Joseph McGuirk – who paid the ultimate sacrifice as they were fighting the multiple-alarm Worcester and Cold Storage Warehouse fire.

“Fifteen years may seem like a long time to some, but it seems like yesterday to many of us,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “We will always remember our fallen brothers.”

The 1999 fire started when two homeless people knocked over a candle. As the blaze grew, Worcester and neighboring fire companies were called to respond. When fire fighters arrived, people were thought to still be inside. 

Complicating their efforts was the building’s structure; it was windowless with thick walls designed to maintain cold temperatures. But, on the day of the fire, the building held in the heat and smoke. The six inside made repeated mayday calls and activated audible location alarms, but fire fighters outside the warehouse could not reach them in time.