Complete video of the Palatine Fire Department Memorial Ceremony, Saturday February 23, 2019.
On a rainy Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 9:00 a.m., the Palatine Fire Department hosted a brief ceremony to recognize the service and sacrifice of three Palatine volunteer firefighters who died in the line of duty.
On this day in 1973, volunteer firefighters John Wilson, Richard Freeman and Warren Ahlgrim lost their lives fighting a fire in the Ben Franklin store in downtown Palatine. The early morning fire started in the basement of the retail store and quickly spread throughout the entire building. Wilson, Freeman, and Ahlgrim were on the first hose line and died while fighting the fire in the basement of the store.
The memorial ceremony was held at the Palatine Firefighter’s Memorial at the corner of North Brockway Street and West Slade Street in downtown Palatine, IL. The Palatine Fire Honor Guard stepped off from Palatine Fire Station 85 at 39 East Colfax Street at approximately 8:45 a.m. and marched to the Palatine Firefighters Memorial with a lone bagpipe player during a light rain. The ceremony as soon as the Honor Guard arrived at the Palatine Firefighter’s Memorial, beginning with a welcome from Firefighter Eric Jordan and a prayer from Rev. Tim Fairman, Palatine Fire Department Chaplain and Pastor at St. Theresa in Palatine. The American Flag was lowered to half mast and members of the Palatine Fire Department Honor Guard presented a wreath as Firefighter Eric Jordan narrated the ceremony. Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipes. Finishing the ceremony, Firefighter Eric Jordan rang a memorial bell three times, saying “When a firefighter had died in the line of duty, paying the supreme sacrifice, it was the mournful toll of the bell that solemnly announced a comrade’s passing.” The Honor Guard then returned to Palatine Fire Station 85.
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