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Worcester 6 remembered 21 years after Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. fire

Firefighters across Worcester will hold moment of silence Wednesday in honor of the six firefighters who died in the line of duty battling the warehouse blaze on Dec. 3, 1999


This photo shows firefighters gathered for a memorial service on Dec. 3, 2019 in honor of the Worcester 6, six Worcester firefighters who died in the line of duty battling a blaze at Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. in 1999. This year, a moment of silence will be held throughout the city in lieu of a public ceremony, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo/Douglas Hook,

Melissa Hanson

WORCESTER, Mass. — It’s been 21 years since one of the most heartbreaking days in Worcester’s history.

On Dec. 3, 1999, a blaze at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. claimed the lives of six Worcester firefighters. Each December since, the city has remembered the sacrifices of Lt. Thomas Spencer, Lt. Timothy Jackson Sr., Lt. James Lyons III and Firefighters Jeremiah Lucey, Paul Brotherton and Joseph McGuirk.

Firefighters across the city will have a moment of silence to remember the “Worcester 6" on Wednesday. There will be no public memorial event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flames consumed the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building 21 years ago after two homeless people staying inside knocked over a candle. More than 75 firefighters rushed inside the Franklin Street building. The Worcester 6 never made it out of the 110,000-square-foot building, which had a maze-like structure inside.

“Two of our members became lost and running out of air. Many of our firefighters then entered the building in a valiant effort to locate their brothers, some pushing it to the limit within seconds of their own demise,” Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie recalled during last year’s 20th-anniversary memorial event at the Franklin Street Fire Station, which was built on the site of the Cold Storage building.

Last year, letters, T-shirts and teddy bears preserved from the days following the 1999 blaze were displayed in an exhibit at Worcester’s Union Station. People traveled from outside the city to visit and remember the lives lost.

December is a grueling month for the department. Dec. 9 will mark two years since Firefighter Christopher Roy was killed battling a blaze on Lowell Street. And Dec. 8 will be nine years since Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr. died while battling flames inside an Arlington Street three-decker.

Last month, a small group of firefighters and city officials gathered to remember Lt. Jason Menard, who was killed on Nov. 13, 2019, fighting a fire on Stockholm Street. He pushed a fellow firefighter out a window to safety.


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