On Monday, the Charleston Fire Department will honor nine heroes who died in the line of duty during the Sofa Super Store fire in 2007.
Firefighters Brandon Thompson, Brad Baity, Louis Mulkey, Mark Kelsey, Mike Benke, William Hutchinson, Melvin Champaign, Michael French and Earl Drayton were all killed in the disaster, which remains one of the deadliest days for U.S. firefighters since September 11, 2001.
“Their unwavering commitment to their neighbors and to the city of Charleston is an inspiration to all Americans,” said President George W. Bush.
The firefighters died when the roof of the furniture store collapsed. An estimated 30,000 people, including as many as 8,000 firefighters, attended the memorial service.
The Charleston Fire Department made a number of changes after the fire.
Monday marks 11 years since the tragedy.
The Fire Department will hold a commemoration ceremony at 7 p.m. at Charleston 9 Memorial Park (1807 Savannah Highway). The event is open to the public.
The park was built at the site of the fire. It features nine markers representing the location of each of the fallen.
Firefighters will be on watch at the park all day Monday. Interim Fire Chief Joseph Roberts is expected to address the media before the commemoration ceremony.