Wilmington – Chief Anthony Goode identified the fallen firefighters as 41-year-old Wilmington Fire Lt. Christopher Leach, a 14-year veteran and 51 year-old Wilmington Firefighter Jerry Fickes, a 13-year veteran. Goode said that both leave behind children and families.
At 2:54 a.m., at 1927 Lakeview Road in Wilmington, responding firefighters were met with heavy smoke and flames from the rear of the home. Additional crews were called to the scene. As the additional units arrived they became aware of residents trapped in the home.
Goode said that as the crews entered the foyer of the row home where the floors were soft and brittle and began to collapse. When the first floor collapsed , four firefighters fell and were trapped in the basement.
Two of the firefighter died, two are in listed in stable but critical condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, in Upland, Pennsylvania. Two other fire fighters were treated and released for minor injuries at Christina Hospital.
An emotional Goode asked the community to “Please keep us in your prayers, This is a very tragic day. The entire city is hurting significantly; I know I am.”
One of the fallen firefighters was carried from the row home by his fellow firefighters, draped in an American flag. The remains of both of the fallen firefighters were transported to the state medical examiner in Wilmington. First responders stood at attention along the roadway to pay their respects.
Occupants of the home included four children and at least one adult. Reports indicate that they were being treated at area hospitals for smoke inhalation.
Gov. Jack Markell in a Twitter message posted “Our thoughts & prayers are with our fallen & injured @WilmFireDept firefighters, their families & the entire fire service community.”
Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control. The Fire Marshall and investigators are currently working the scene.