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Philadelphia Firefighters’ Union Shares Department’s Loss of 2 Brethren

(Firefighters Local 22 headquarters, at 5th and Willow Streets in Philadelphia.  File photo by Michelle Durham)

(Firefighters Local 22 headquarters, at 5th and Willow Streets in Philadelphia. File photo by Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham and Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the entire Philadelphia Fire Department reacts to the tragic loss of two firefighters in the line of duty this morning (see related stories), the union that represents Philadelphia firefighters was joining in the mourning.

“We’re just grieving, looking for answers that are going to take time to get,” said Local 22 president Bill Gault.

Gault says firefighters are finding solace in one another.

“There were almost a 100 firemen at the hospital,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “And that is the way we grieve. We’re a family — we lost two brothers today — and it’s still hasn’t even sunk in to most of us.  And it might take a day or two,” he said tearfully.  “Right now I need the members to know we will be there, and for the families to know that we will always be there for them. “

A memorial outside of the Ladder 10 firehouse in Kensington grew steadily throughout the day.

“Those two guys are some of the best friends, co workers and partners,” said Captain Dennis Merrigan. “It takes enormous courage to do what they did and they did it selflessly. They saved countless houses from burning and potential lives.”

As the department and entire city mourn their loss, in their Northeast Philadelphia neighborhoods, there is a steady flow of people outside both men’s homes offering support for grieving families, devastated and in disbelief.

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