CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Final improvements are coming to a memorial that aims to honor the lives of firefighters lost in the Sofa Super Store Fire. The Charleston 9 Memorial will soon include brick outlays of the former buildings and storyboards to better tell the story June 18th, 2007.
Nine firefighters were killed at the Charleston Sofa Super Store on Savannah Highway in West Ashley after flames tore through the building, trapping firefighters inside.
“Before we knew it, we had people calling for help, calling maydays, and it was just a very quick chaotic process,” David Griffin, Assistant Chief of Administration for the Charleston Fire Department, recalled of the day.
16 years later, loved ones are looking to honor the lives lost in new ways.
Improvements to the memorial include a donor patio, brick piers marking the corners of the store’s four buildings, improved landscaping, and more places to sit and take in the memorial.
“When people come out here to see this, it changes their perspective,” says Griffin. “Where you see their name, that’s where those search crews found their bodies. We want to add a story with that because we want people to come out here and understand what they’re looking at.”
The roughly $228,000 project will also incorporate storyboards around the memorial to detail the firefighters who lost their lives along with the events of the day.
“Once it’s finished, it’s going to memorialize these individuals’ names but also memorialize what they gave to the fire service to teach us what happened on that day,” says Griffin.
Current and past firefighters, family members, city officials, and the community coming together to design the reimagined space to ensure the Charleston 9 will never be forgotten.
“Because once you see it, it makes you feel what happened out here a lot more and it makes you appreciate this site a lot more as well,” says Griffin.
Officials with the City of Charleston tasked with overseeing the completion of the project hope that it’ll be done ahead of the 17th anniversary of the fire on June 18th.