By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Four firefighters who died battling a blaze in Center City in 1899 were honored with a memorial service Saturday at the church they helped save; St. John The Evangelist at 13th and Market.
“Heavenly father, we stand here on this sacred ground…”
Father John Daya blessed plaques imbedded in the sidewalk outside the church dedicated to Hugh Duff, William Chance, George Steinle and James Shea. They died fighting the great fire of 1899.
Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Everett Gillison says the city will never forget their service, “The city needed to support in every way we can, to show that we support our firefighters who give the ultimate sacrifice.”
Gillison says two firefighters who died in 2012 were also on his mind.”Lieutenant Neary and Firefighter Sweeney will always be remembered and will be an inspiration for us.”
Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Dan Sweeney died fighting a 5-alarm fire at a vacant warehouse in Kensington last April.