Fallen firefighters honored during Wilmington dedication ceremony

It’s been one year since three Delaware firefighters died during and following an arson fire at a Wilmington residence.

On Sept. 24, 2016, Capt. Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes were killed during rescue efforts. In December, Ardythe Hope who was also injured fighting that fire died from her injuries.


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On Monday, families of the fallen firefighters unveiled three bronze plaques in their honor, which will be placed at the three fire stations they were assigned. The families also received commissioned portraits of their loved ones.

“Firefighting is a very unique profession. Not many people know what we do, or why we do it. They knew—a strong desire to help people, and their brother and sister firefighters, no matter what the risk. It’s our way of life,” said Wilmington Fire Chief Michael Donohue.

“All the tributes to Chris, Ardy and Jerry are small in comparison to their sacrifice. With these station dedications, they will be with us in spirt every day. They will be with us at every event watching over us. We will honor them daily, getting on those trucks and doing the job. We will never forget them.”

Mayor Mike Purzycki, D-Wilmington also signed an executive order naming September 24th Firefighters Remembrance Day.

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“In no way can these plaques erase the pain or fill the sense of loss for what happened a year ago. That is not our purpose here. Nor do we try to make our heroes greater in death than they were in life,” he said.

“What we memorialize today is their bravery, we memorialize their courage, their adherence to duty and their sense of honor. We do so, so others in our community can be inspired by their acts of uncommon valor.”

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