Locals honor fallen heroes

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News 12 at 6:00, June 22, 2007

It's a day of mourning. Thousands of firefighters and families from across the country gathered in Charleston this morning to say goodbye to nine heroes. Those men lost their lives in the deadliest firefighting tragedy since 9-11.

Some local firefighters made the trip to Charleston to honor the fallen firefighters, while others are remembering them here at home.

At the Stephen Posey Funeral home, their pictures are on display for everyone to see: each man, his rank, and his fire station. People across the entire area are joining together to pay tribute, and to help in any way they can.

It's a day of tears, a day of mourning, and a day when families and fellow fire fighters have to come to terms with the loss. Some firefighters from across our area were among the thousands who said their goodbyes in person. Others watch from their own fire stations, reflecting on the sacrifice these men made.

"It's very sad and it really hits home...How dangerous the job can be sometimes." Said Lt. Phil Kestin.

He says they're leaving home. Several men are taking a truck to Charleston to help that department, and their families, in this time of need.

"It's a brotherhood and sisterhood of firemen and the police department. All the emergency services work together." Lt. Kestin said.

And the community is rallying behind them. Stephen Posey is collecting signatures to send their department as a sign of support. He's also proudly displaying this memorial to honor bravery and dedication to the community.

"This memorial not only recognize these nine men, but it also helps us remember those who live in our community who are fire fighters or public safety officers, and it's a tribute to them at the same time." Posey said.

It's a tribute to all the men and women who battle the blaze, who put their lives on the line, and who make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of others.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the Charleston fire department, and their families." said Lt. Kestin.

If you'd like to sign the memorial book, you can to the Stephen Posey Funeral Home any day from 9:00 to 5:00. They'll send it to the Charleston Fire Department. If you'd like to make a donation, you can do so at any Bank of America branch.

Also, here's a look at what some other local departments are doing. A group from North Augusta Public Safety left for Charleston early this morning. Richmond County sent more than 15, and Columbia County sent 11 firefighters and a truck.

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