PALATINE, Ill. (CBS) — Forty-seven years after three volunteer firefighters died in the line of duty, they were remembered in Palatine on Sunday.
The Palatine Fire Department held a memorial ceremony Sunday morning at the Firefighters Memorial at Brockway and Slade streets in downtown Palatine.
In the ceremony, the Palatine Fire Honor Guard marched from Station 85 to the memorial, where a wreath was presented and a ceremonial fire bell was rung.
The memorial honors firefighters John Wilson, Richard Freeman, and Warren Ahlgrim – who all died in an early-morning fire at a Ben Franklin store on Feb. 23, 1973.
The fire started in the retail store and spread throughout the building. The firefighters died while working in the basement.
Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen said it is important to remember their sacrifice.
“Every year, we lose about 100 firefighters nationwide, and we actually have a dry-erase board in each station where we put that person’s name on and a little detail about what happened, and then we talk about it – so we try not to repeat that,” Andersen said.
Palatine has lost five firefighters in the history of the department.
The memorial statue actually looks over the nearby train crossing where two other firefighters were killed when their engine was struck by a train back in 1946.