The Worcester City Council is moving to approve plans for a memorial to the six firefighters who died in December 1999 at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co.The Worcester, Massachusetts City Council is moving to approve plans for a memorial to the six firefighters who died in the tragic December 1999 blaze at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co.
The City Coucil's committee on Youth, Parks and Recreation voted at a hearing Monday night to transfer seven acres of public land to the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee for the purpose of erecting a memorial. The proposal will now go before the full City Council on November 18.
The proposed site is currently part of Institute Park, located adjacent to the Worcester Fire Department headquarters.
Memorial Committee Chairman Michael J. Donoghue said the site is appropriate because the city already owns the land and because all six of the fallen firefighters trained at the nearby department headquarters. The six firefighters were Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey, Joseph T. McGuirk, Lt. James F. Lyons and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer.
Donoghue said his committee chose this land over the actual site of the fire because they don't own that site, which is currently under litigation, and because it's in a depressed industrial area. "It will always be sacred ground," Donoghue said, "but a number of families didn't want it there. They said it was too depressing."
Donoghue said his committee asked for ownership of the park land so they can choose and erect a memorial as they see fit. After the completion and dedication of the memorial, they plan to transfer the land back to the city.
He said there are no plans yet for the actual memorial, which would be a small part of the site. Once they obtain rights to the land they will seek proposals through a national design competition under the advisement of Kenneth W. Paolini, executive director of Design Competitions International.
"It's going to be very pleasant, very educational and it's going to be a living memorial to those six firefighters," Donoghue said.
In addition to Donoghue, the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee consists of the president and treasurer of the local firefighters union, two family members of the fallen firefighters, the Worcester fire chief, and about a half dozen other community representatives.