Day Conjures Painful Memories For Worcester Firefighters Six Firefighters Killed In 1999 Blaze

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Firefighters across America felt a deep loss when 343 of their New York brothers died last September.

In Worcester, the pain of losing firemen was vivid and recent. Six Worcester firefighters were killed in the 1999 cold storage fire. But on Wednesday, the department paid tribute to the New York victims. "They are reliving every one of those minutes and moments in responding. It's dfficult for them. Today is a trying day for them," Firefighter's Union spokesman Frank Raffa said.

On Franklin Street, three summers have bleached the T-shirts of firefighters from around the country that hang from a fence that encloses the grounds where the six Worcester firefighters were killed.

Worcester Fire Department Chief Gerard Dio presided over the search for bodies where the Worcester warehouse once stood.

"One year later, the hurt doesn't get any weaker. It is still strong. I can remember the night that it happened. Time goes on. Before you know it, it was two years, and now we are going onto our third year," Dio said.

"When I am called to duty, wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save a life, whatever be his age," one firefighter read.

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