Del. firefighter hurt in fatal fire released from hospital

Brad Speakman suffered burns to 30 percent of his body during a fire that killed two colleagues and injured several others

By FireRescue1 Staff

WILMINGTON, Del. — A firefighter who was seriously injured in a blaze that killed two colleagues was released from the hospital Thursday. 

Brad Speakman sustained burns to more than 30 percent of his body during the Sept. 24 rowhouse fire, reported FOX29. Two other Wilmington firefighters, Capt. Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes were killed in the fire.

Speakman was escorted home by local police and firefighters, who greeted him as he was loaded into the ambulance. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing my 7- and 5-year-olds,” Speakman said. “I wasn’t really able to see them while I was here. I can’t wait to see them.” 

Three other firefighters were also injured in the fire, including senior firefighter Ardythe Hope, who remains in critical condition and sustained burns to more than 70 percent of her body. Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode told Delaware Online that Hope is making progress in her recovery.

Although Speakman intends to return to work soon, he carries the memory of his two colleagues who lost their lives in the fire. 

“I’ll remember it every day for the rest of my life,” Speakman said. “It’s a day that’s a tragedy and something that hopefully I’ll forget.” 

Beatriz Fana-Ruiz, 27, was charged with murder, arson, assault and reckless endangerment in connection with the fire.

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