Nine Fire Fighters Perish in South Carolina Warehouse Fire
June 22, 2007) -- Nine fire fighters in Charleston, South
Carolina, died June 18 in a tragic furniture warehouse fire.
The fire broke out about 7:00 p.m. June 18 in the Sofa Super Store and warehouse. Witnesses said the store's roof collapsed, throwing debris over about two-dozen rescue workers.
The nine fire officers and fire fighters have been identified as Captain William "Billy" Hutchinson, 48; Captain Theodore M. "Mike" Benke, 49; Captain Louis Mulkey, 34; engineer Mark Kelsey, 40; engineer Rodney Bradford "Brad" Baity, 37; assistant engineer Michael French, 27; fire fighter James "Earl" Drayton, 56; fire fighter Brandon Thompson, 27; and fire fighter Melven Champaign, 46.
Baity was treasurer of Charleston Local 61.
The IAFF has established THE IAFF CHARLESTON FIRE FIGHTERS JUNE 18 FUND to provide financial assistance to the families of the nine fire fighters who lost their lives in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 18, 2007. Contributions to this fund, which are not tax deductible as charitable contributions, can be mailed to the following address:
THE IAFF CHARLESTON FIRE FIGHTERS JUNE 18 FUND
Cards and flowers can be sent to:
Charleston Fire Department Headquarters
Visitations and Funerals
Visitation and funeral information for the three IAFF members who died in Charleston on June 18 is as follows:
Visitation for Brad Baity will be Friday, June 22 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at West Ashley/Stuhr Chapel, 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway, Charleston, SC 29414. The funeral will be held Saturday, June 23 at 3:00 p.m. at Charleston Baptist Church, 13 San Miguel Road, Charleston, SC 29407.
Visitation for Mike Benke will be Friday, June 22 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at West Ashley/Stuhr Chapel, 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway, Charleston, SC 29414. The funeral will be held Saturday, June 23 at 11:00 a.m. at Palmetto Community Church, 1965 Bees Ferry Road, Charleston, SC 29414.
The funeral for Earl Drayton will be Saturday, June 23, at 1:00 p.m. at Joshua Baptist Church, 2482 Faber Road, Charleston, SC 29405.
Read the news coverage:
9 Firefighters Die in South Carolina Blaze (New York Times)
Tragedy in South Carolina resonates in city firehouses (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Store became a deadly 'inferno' (Chicago Tribune)
Profiles on the 9 fallen SC firefighters (Kansas City Star)
S.C. blaze revives Worcester pain (Boston Globe)
S.C. Warehouse Fire Kills 9 Firefighters (ABC News)
'Tornado of flames' kills nine firefighters’ (CNN)
Flashover Possible in Deadly S.C. Fire (AP Video)
Furniture Store Fire: Eyewitness Video (NBC, Charleston)