We all admire firefighters, but seldom truly pause to reflect on the danger of fire, and the heroism and bravery required by those who choose to act as first responders. We regularly hear sirens and see passing fire trucks and rescue vehicles, but seldom think that each alarm can mean firefighters putting their lives on the line as public servants. It often takes a tragedy such as the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire of December 3, 1999 to remind us of the men and women risk their lives every day performing firefighting and rescue operations.
On December 3, 1999, Box Alarm 1438 sounded, and, as they always do, the Worcester Fire Department responded. The former Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse was in flames. Eight days later, the last of six firefighters were pulled from the wreckage of this tragic fire. Worcester Firefighters Paul Brotherton, Tim Jackson, Jerry Lucey, Jay Lyons III, Joe McGuirk and Lt. Tom Spencer went to work on December 3, 1999, and did not return home to their families.
This Memorial is a testament to local heroes, and to support their families. As an inspirational and educational monument, this Memorial will serve as a permanent reminder that first responders place their lives in jeopardy as they serve our communities. With this Memorial, these heroes will never be forgotten.
The overall design idea is one of transcendence and movement to open space. As visitors arrive and proceed through the site, the Memorial experience symbolically moves from earth beneath the canopy of trees (the Parklands), through a sanctuary for indoor reflection (Memorial Pavilion), through the symbolic smoke and flames (the Cables), with the eye directed upward towards heaven (the Columns) and out to the water and open space (Memorial Plaza), antidotes to smoke and fire.
Our design proposal achieves the following:
Honors the lost firefighters with a solemn memorial.
Enhances the unique virtues of the exceptional site, especially Salisbury Pond.
Achieves visibility of the Memorial.
Communicates the nature of firefighting by utilizing actual apparatus and symbols such as ladders, deluge guns, helmets, badges and beacons, as well as an historical record of the fire.
Provides a range of experiences including indoor space for educational display and monuments, outdoor plazas, and more intimate reflection areas.