Loved ones and fellow firefighters honor the "Charleston 9" six years later

"Charleston 9" honored six years later

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - A touching tribute Tuesday night for the "Charleston 9," who died six years ago battling a blaze at the Sofa Super Store in West Ashley. Family, friends, and fellow firefighters came together to remember those nine fallen heroes.

A salute and bagpipe melody for the nine men who took their last breaths six years ago.

The names of the  "Charleston 9" were read during Tuesday night's ceremony. Diane French lost her 27-year-old son, Michael French, that day. She says it doesn't get any easier.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of him. He's usually the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think of when I go to bed at night."

Kim Benke lost her husband, Captain Michael Benke. She says she knows he's looking down with pride, honored to be a part of the firefighter brother and sisterhood.

"It was his whole life. That's all he ever knew. He had done it since he was 19."

And it wasn't just family and loved ones who stopped by. Firefighters from all over the Lowcountry prayed alongside the families.

"It's a tough day for my crews," said Chief Karen Brack. "It's a tough day for the families, and all we can do is hope for peace."

French says it's a peace her son found in his 13 years as a firefighter.

"That was, he felt, his calling. That was what he was put on this earth to do, and that's what he was happing doing."

The fire was the greatest single loss of firefighters since September 11th, 2001.