Fallen Firefighters' Memorial Unveiled

As her father's name echoed and the bell on a fire engine rang out, Carolyn Dimayo wiped a tear from her cheek.

It's been 22 years since her father, Capt. Harold Webb, died fighting a fire at a tire-recapping factory in Seattle's Georgetown area. But for her as well as other relatives, friends and colleagues of fallen firefighters, the moment yesterday was weighted.

"It's still tough, hearing `Amazing Grace' and the bagpipes. It brings it all back," she said.

Dimayo was among a crowd that packed Seattle's Occidental Park for the unveiling of a sculpture created to memorialize the 34 Seattle firefighters who have died in the line of duty since the city's Fire Department was formed 109 years ago.

The unveiling attracted firefighters from throughout the region.

"People love firefighters because they're heroes and there are so few heroes left," said Kathy Fies, a member of the board that commissioned the memorial. "They save people, they save property, and they put their lives on the line every day."

"It made me feel good to know how much people do care," said Maryanne Kilgore.

The death of Kilgore's husband, Walter, and three other firefighters in the Pang warehouse fire on Jan. 5, 1995, inspired the memorial - four life-sized bronze figures of firefighters surrounded by slabs of solid granite that appear to represent a fallen building.

The unveiling was the highlight of Pioneer Square's annual Fire Festival, which marks the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 that started in a glue factory and nearly wiped out the fledgling city.

The names of the four killed in the Pang fire - Kilgore, Randall Terlicker, Gregory Allen Shoemaker and James T. Brown - are etched on a granite slab near the figures.

Seattle Fire Chief James Sewell said the sculpture was a tribute not only to firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty, but also to the heroism, bravery and compassion of the entire force.

"Their deaths were not meaningless. We remember and honor those we have lost," he said yesterday.

For Lt. Marcia Kinder of Fire Station 15, the blank space that awaits new entries on the granite slab was a solemn reminder of the profession's danger.

"Nobody should go to work and die on the job, but fires are dangerous and it happens," Kinder said. "It didn't exactly make me uneasy, but it made me stop and realize there will be other names added."

Christine Clarridge's phone message number is 206-464-8983. Her e-mail address is: ccla-new@seatimes.com