PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia firefighters, police officers and city officials gathered in front of a diner in Northern Liberties on Wednesday to dedicate 14 plaques in memory of the 14 men who lost their lives there 100 years ago in a deadly blaze.
Thirteen firefighters and one police officer lost their lives in the line of duty during the Friedlander Leather Remnants factory fire on December 21st and 22nd, 1910, after walls collapsed on first responders as they battled the blaze. It remains the worst loss of life for the fire department in the city’s history.
Bill Gault, president of firefighters’ union Local 22, says those in uniform were not the only brave ones that day.
“Housewives on Bodine Street left the safety of their homes after the initial collapse and dragged injured men to the safety to their homes and treated their injuries,” Gault said during ceremonies on Wednesday, where Joe Kirby and his family braved the cold to remember their relative, assistant foreman Thomas Entwhistle.
Entwhistle was Kirby’s maternal grandfather, and Kirby says his dad never got to meet his father-in-law.
“It’s nice to learn more about our family history,” he said, “and this is a great event to have.”
Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio 1060.