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The Charleston 9

On Monday, June 18, 2007, the Charleston Fire Department lost nine brave firefighters while battling a devastating blaze at a furniture store. These heroes were memorialized on June 22, 2007. A procession of more than 300 fire engines, ladder trucks, ambulances, and command vehicles stretched approximately 7.5 miles (12 km) and moved single-file along a route which passed each of the three fire stations from which firefighters were lost, as well as past the site of the fatal fire. Bystanders, police officers, and ATF agents paid their respects by saluting or holding their hands over their hearts.

The procession then moved along Interstate 526 to the North Charleston Coliseum where an estimated 30,000 people, including as many as 8,000 firefighters representing over 700 emergency services agencies from across the United States and Canada, attended the memorial service to honor the fallen heroes.

The Charleston Fire Department continues to honor the "Charleston 9" by striving for excellence in fire service professionalism, leadership, safety, risk reduction, science & technology, and training. Members of the Department also wear commemorative logos on their working uniforms.



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 Firefighter Brandon Thompson
4 years of service
Ladder 5
1 Nicholson Street

Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity
9 years of service
Engine 19
1985 Bees Ferry Road

Captain Louis Mulkey
11.5 years of service
Engine 15
162 Coming Street

     
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 Engineer Mark Kelsey
12.5 years of service
Ladder 5
1 Nicholson Street

Captain Mike Benke
29 years of service
Engine 16
81 Ashley Hall Plantation Road

 Captain William Hutchinson
30 years of service
Engine 19
1985 Bees Ferry Road

     
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Firefighter Melvin Champaign
2 years of service
Engine 16
81 Ashley Hall Plantation Road

Asst. Engineer Michael French
 1.5 years of service
Ladder 5
1 Nicholson Street

Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton
32 years of service
Engine 19
1985 Bees Ferry Road

"Their unwavering commitment to their neighbors and to the City of Charleston is an inspiration to all Americans." 

                                                                         - President George W. Bush

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