Worcester Union Opposes Movie About Tragic Warehouse Fire

IAFF Local 1009 in Worcester is asking firefighters not to support a movie about the tragic warehouse fire on December 3, 1999, that claimed the lives of six of their members.IAFF Local 1009 in Worcester, Massachusetts is asking firefighters not to support a movie in production about the tragic Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse fire on December 3, 1999, that claimed the lives of six of their members.

IAFF Local union president Frank Raffa said four of the six families of the fallen firefighters, which have a total of 17 children, are adamantly opposed to the making of the movie.

"The children were unanimous that they didn't want to see a movie produced, didn't want to go back to that night," Raffa said. He said Worcester firefighters are also emotionally scarred from the incident and opposed to the movie.

"It's not in the best interest of firefighters, the children and the widows," Raffa said.

The movie is being produced for Warner Bros. Pictures by Imagine Entertainment, the same company that produced "Backdraft" in 1991 under filmmaking team Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The script is based on the book "3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It," by Sean Flynn.

Raffa said the union is also concerned about this movie because they do not agree with the facts presented in the book "3000 Degrees."

Imagine Entertainment's public affairs department did not return Firehouse.com's calls Monday or Tuesday.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie is set to star Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson and will be directed by Danny Boyle, best known for "Trainspotting" and "28 Days Later." Online entertainment source IMDB.com lists the movie as "in production" and due out sometime in 2005.

Raffa said Worcester firefighters had heard about potential movie plans some time ago, but thought the project had been dropped. Then Toronto Local 3888 notified them a few weeks ago that movie makers were set to start filming in Toronto May 10, and were asking fire officials for movie extras and assistance.

The Toronto union is not cooperating with filmmakers, said President Scott Marks. "We are telling our members that Worcester is opposed," he said. "They have been asked not to take part, and we hope that they respect that."

Raffa said the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts has denied filmmakers' request for permission to use PFFM logos. The Worcester union also plans to put out a call to all locals across the country to boycott any screenings and showings of the movie, Raffa said.

Raffa said he often hears the argument that those opposed to the movie can opt not to see it, but he says it isn't that simple because of all the local publicity and talk the movie is likely to generate.

"If it adversely affects one child," Raffa asks, "is it worth it for the sake of the almighty dollar? We don't think so."

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