Victims honored with tombstone 1 year after deadly Fairmont fire

An image shows people's portraits around a rowhome.

An image of the people who lost their lives in the Fairmount Fire on January 5, 2022. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

On the one-year anniversary of a tragic fire that killed 12 in the city’s Fairmount section, Philadelphia leaders joined neighbors, family, and friends at Chevron Hills Cemetery to remember those lost.

Dozens of family and friends gathered at the cemetery where the victims are interred to see the new black stone engraved with photos of those lost.  Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said it’s a day that will be forever remembered in the city.

“I can promise you on behalf of the almost 3000 women and men of the Philadelphia Fire Department that we will never forget what happened on that tragic morning one year ago.”

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One by one, loved ones walked by the stone placing roses and other flowers atop the stone.  Many openly wept and were comforted by other family members waiting in the line.

The gloomy day matched the feelings of the people at the solemn event, with many tears and hugs.

One relative, who wanted to be identified as Howard, spoke at the unveiling.

“We miss them so much. Everyone misses them so much,” he said. “This whole year has been so crazy without them. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night how much I miss them.”

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Mayor Jim Kenney was also in attendance. He said the deaths are among one of the worst events in city history.

Kenney is the son of a firefighter and recalled from his childhood times when his father had to deal with similar grief.

“I grew up in a house with a firefighter, the battalion chief,” he said. “Over 20 years in the department, whenever they lost people, whenever you lost a citizen, especially when they lost children, my dad would come home from work and lock himself in the bedroom for a day or two till he can compose himself.”

The memorial cost roughly $20,000. The money was donated following a collection from local businesses and others.  It took six months to source and fabricate.

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