CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the Holy City prepares to remember the nine firefighters lost 12 years ago battling a furniture store fire, work continues on a new fire station that will stand next to the site of the tragedy.
It will also pay tribute to those firefighters. There are nine windows that will face out to the memorial site, in honor of every firefighter lost.
The new station will also be part of one connected property with the memorial.
“It’s a great location," Rusty Thomas, the fire chief during the deadly fire, said. "It has a training facility inside, I just think it’s a great location next to the site.”
Its design was created to honor the firefighters who died in the fire next door on June 18, 2007:
- 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.
The construction of the fire station is a ahead of schedule. It is now set to open by the end of the year.
Steel bars and the frame of the bell tower have already gone up.
The finished $6.5 million station will house a command training center, a three-bay apparatus area, living quarters and department offices.
“The new Fire Station 11 demonstrates the city’s commitment to improving service delivery to residents of West Ashley, provides a tremendous improvement for our Fire Department team and, most importantly, represents another step forward in our desire to continue to enhance the Charleston 9 Memorial Park," Charleston Fire Chief Daniel Curia said. “The design team has done a remarkable job ensuring that this station will complement the park while providing a lasting tribute to the sacrifices made by the members of this department.”
By the end of the year, the 15 firefighters who will be stationed there could start moving in.