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V.I. Fire Service to Honor Past and Present Heroes Saturday

Oct. 12, 2006 — During a banquet Saturday night at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel, organizations representing past and present members of the V.I. Fire Service will honor those firefighters who made history close to 40 years ago during one of the island's worst blazes.
Organizers of the Brotherhood of the Firefighters Award and Reunion Ball say the event is being held to formally acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of the men who were injured while battling the explosion of a propane storage tank and the subsequent blaze at Carib Gas in Sub Base.
Recognition is also planned for other people who have made contributions to the service.
According to firefighter Daryl George, the service suffered its greatest number of casualties as a result of that explosion and fire in the spring of 1970.
"It injured a lot of people; more than 21 firefighters were injured. Several of them were flown to Puerto Rico for emergency treatment. Some still wear the battle scars," he said. "We think the time to recognize them is now, and that's what we are going to do as a team."
Most of the survivors of that incident are now retirees, and the group that represents them, the Retired Firefighters Association, is one of four groups joining forces to stage this event.
"The retirees came up with all of these good honorees and this event to make this a special occasion," George said.
The V.I. Fire Service, the International Association of Firefighters and the Junior Firefighters Corps are also taking part.
Also being honored are St. John Deputy Fire Chief Brian Chapman and Arturo James, the oldest living firefighter. Roy Donovan and Antonio Benjamin, two others who served in the 1970s, will join the list of honorees.
According to George, Benjamin served as a Fire Service volunteer at the time. He too was hurt in the Carib Gas incident.
George said there are close to 19 active firefighters who started out in Junior Firefighters, and on Saturday night, special recognition will be given to Mario Smith, a former firefighter whose work with the group is credited for making those transitions possible. Anthony Flemming, the assistant coordinator for the program, will be recognized as well.
The group also plans to honor Milo's Kings, the world-famous St. Thomas dance band that has provided the music for many of the Christmas parties hosted by the service in years gone by.
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Oct. 12, 2006 -- During a banquet Saturday night at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel, organizations representing past and present members of the V.I. Fire Service will honor those firefighters who made history close to 40 years ago during one of the island's worst blazes.
Organizers of the Brotherhood of the Firefighters Award and Reunion Ball say the event is being held to formally acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of the men who were injured while battling the explosion of a propane storage tank and the subsequent blaze at Carib Gas in Sub Base.
Recognition is also planned for other people who have made contributions to the service.
According to firefighter Daryl George, the service suffered its greatest number of casualties as a result of that explosion and fire in the spring of 1970.
"It injured a lot of people; more than 21 firefighters were injured. Several of them were flown to Puerto Rico for emergency treatment. Some still wear the battle scars," he said. "We think the time to recognize them is now, and that's what we are going to do as a team."
Most of the survivors of that incident are now retirees, and the group that represents them, the Retired Firefighters Association, is one of four groups joining forces to stage this event.
"The retirees came up with all of these good honorees and this event to make this a special occasion," George said.
The V.I. Fire Service, the International Association of Firefighters and the Junior Firefighters Corps are also taking part.
Also being honored are St. John Deputy Fire Chief Brian Chapman and Arturo James, the oldest living firefighter. Roy Donovan and Antonio Benjamin, two others who served in the 1970s, will join the list of honorees.
According to George, Benjamin served as a Fire Service volunteer at the time. He too was hurt in the Carib Gas incident.
George said there are close to 19 active firefighters who started out in Junior Firefighters, and on Saturday night, special recognition will be given to Mario Smith, a former firefighter whose work with the group is credited for making those transitions possible. Anthony Flemming, the assistant coordinator for the program, will be recognized as well.
The group also plans to honor Milo's Kings, the world-famous St. Thomas dance band that has provided the music for many of the Christmas parties hosted by the service in years gone by.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.