Worcester Fire Offers Support After S.C. Tragedy

The Worcester fire chief and the head of the city's firefighters union will travel to South Carolina

WORCESTER, Mass. --

The Worcester fire chief and the head of the city's firefighters union will travel to South Carolina to help the community heal after nine of its firefighters died in a fire.

NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that six members of the Worcester Fire Department died in a warehouse fire on Dec. 3, 1999.

Worcester Chief Gerard Dio said he was thinking about how difficult it is to notify families when tragedy strikes.

"A tough thing. Who is going to go and who is going to say what. 'You know them. OK, we are going to send you here.' 'We are going to send you there,'" Dio said.

"We'll be sitting down with the union just to tell them what we went through -- the dos and donts. When this happened to a community, everybody is out there and wanting to offer assistance. You know, quite frankly, we probably made some mistakes, but we leaned from our mistakes," Worcester Firefighters Union President Frank Raffa said.

The Worcester Fire Department members said they would never really get over the 1999 tragedy, but they said they will try to help Charleston through theirs.

"Once a firefighter, always a firefighter. We carry that to the death -- whether it is in a building or if it is in a nursing home in old age," Raffa said.

Members of the Worcester Fire Department left for South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon.

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