By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was with a heavy heart that city officials had to give details about the two firefighters lost in a raging five-alarm fire.
The two victims, Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, were assigned to Ladder 10 on the C platoon. One was about to retire and the other was nearly six years into his career with a bright future ahead of him.
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison says the 59-year old Neary was awarded four unit citations during his 37-years of service.
“He has had numerous commendations including rescuing a pregnant woman from the second floor of a burning dwelling in 2000. He also received a unit citation in 1996, after rescuing 2 people trapped in a burning two-and-a-half story building,” said Gillison, adding, “Answering that call again and again – above and beyond service in the finest tradition of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Prior to joining the department, Lt. Neary served in the Army Reserves, from 72 to 82 as a Sgt First Class. He then served on the Philadelphia Police Department from 1971 to 1974.
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Twenty-five-year old Firefighter Daniel Sweeney grew up with the department.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says Sweeney followed in the footsteps of his father, with whom Ayers worked on several fire grounds.
“His father is a retired Captain. He looked forward to his son coming on. He was a young man who was absolutely going to have a great career,” said Ayers.
In just six years with the department, Sweeney also received unit citations.
“Daniel Sweeney received commendations in 2009, a unit citation rescuing an elderly woman, trapped on the second floor of her building and in 2008 for rescuing several occupants from a burning dwelling,” said Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison.
Both men will now be remembered as heroes.
“Let’s remember the sacrifice that they made,” said Gillison. “They did what they were called to do and they did it well. We’re proud of them.”
Mayor Nutter has ordered city flags be flown at half-staff for 30 days.