Local News

Locals Pay Tribute to South Carolina Firefighters

Posted June 23, 2007 12:20 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of strangers descended upon South Carolina Friday to mourn nine firefighters who died in a furniture store fire Monday.

Two paramedics from Wake County were part of a large group from the Triangle who traveled there to pay their respects.

“We may not ever meet each other again. However, you feel a certain bond and tie to these people, like they’re your own family,” said Wake County Paramedic Chris Mills.

For paramedic Chris Gherardi, their deaths and the emotional ceremony brought back painful memories of September 11, 2001 when he was a paramedic in New York.

“You think about the danger every day,” Gherardi said. “When you wake up and go to work, you think about the dangers involved with your job and what you do. But for the firefighters, the paramedics, the police officers … we do it because we love it.”

The two paramedics stayed in Charleston, S.C., after the memorial service to attend the first of nine funerals now planned for the victims.