The names of Wilmington fire Captain Christopher Leach, who was 41 and a 14-year veteran, Lieutenant Jerry Fickes, 51 and a 13-year veteran and Lieutenant Ardy Hope, 48 and a 23-year veteran will all be added to the International Association of Fire Fighters’ (IAFF) Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial on Saturday, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The fire that took the lives of the trio and injured four others, occurred shortly before 3:00 am on September 24, 2016, in the 1900 block of Lakeview Road, Canby Park.
On that Saturday morning Leach rushed into the home to save people. Once inside he became trapped in the basement, according to former Chief Anthony Goode. Fickes, along with several other firefighters jumped into action and were attempting to save Leach when the first floor collapsed, trapping them in the basement.
When the floor collapsed both Leach and Fickes were mortally wounded, the collapse also seriously injured Hope and Firefighter Brad Speakman. Hope and Speakman, badly injured, were rushed to Crozer Burn Center in Chester, PA., where Hope sadly succumbed to her injuries after a long hard-fought battle.
Brad Speakman spent six weeks at Crozer recovering from his burn injuries, before undergoing months of physical rehabilitation. Speakman, who was able to return to the department last week, will be at this weekend’s ceremony. Three other firefighters injured in the Canby Park fire were treated and released the day of the fire.
Several days after the fire authorities ruled the blaze an arson and arrested a woman who lived in the home. The woman was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree arson, assault charges and seven counts of reckless endangerment. She is currently in jail awaiting trial.
The fallen Fire Fighter Memorial honors more than 7,500 IAFF members who have died in the line of duty since 1918.
The memorial, etched in granite walls forming concentric circles, with the names of the fallen fire fighters, is dedicated to century of sacrifice and service, according to the IAFF.
The ceremony can be watched at http://client.prod.iaff.org/#page=fffm. It begins at 1:00 pm EST.
Image Credits: Wilmington Fire Department Facebook