Charleston Fire Dept. to hold remembrance ceremony for Charleston 9

Charleston Fire Dept. to hold remembrance ceremony for Charleston 9
The Charleston 9 firefighters (Source: Charleston Fire Dept.)
The Charleston 9 firefighters (Source: Charleston Fire Dept.)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Members of the Charleston Fire Department will mark the 11th anniversary of a deadly fire that claimed nine of their own.

The Sofa Super Store fire in West Ashley killed nine city firefighters on June 18, 2007.

The ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Charleston 9 Memorial Park. The park stands on the former site of the store, at 1807 Savannah Highway.

The park contains markers for each of the nine firefighters killed that evening. Beginning at midnight on the anniversary, fire department personnel will stand watch for 24 hours at the park.

Family members may arrive any time prior to 7 p.m. Families of the fallen and members of the CFD, past and present, will be offered priority seating in the tented area.

Members of the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, counselors from Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center, and members from the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy will be on site to offer support throughout the duration of the event.

Parking in the area is limited and we encourage carpooling. The Memorial Park parking lot along Savannah Highway will not be available. Parking will be available at the vacant lot off of Wappoo Road near the West Ashley Bikeway.

At the time, the incident bore the highest number of firefighter fatalities in a single event since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The firefighters who died while working to make sure no employees were trapped inside the building were:

  • Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, of Engine 19
  • Capt. Mike Benke of Engine 16
  • Firefighter Melvin Champaign, of Engine 16
  • Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton, of Engine 19
  • Asst. Engineer Michael French, of Ladder 5
  • Capt. William Hutchinson, of Engine 19
  • Engineer Mark Kelsey, of Ladder 5
  • Capt. Louis Mulkey, of Engine 15
  • Firefighter Brandon Thompson, of Ladder 5.

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