Remembering the Charleston 9


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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD/WETM) – Today marks 13 years since the Charleston 9 lost their lives in the Sofa Super Store fire.

On June 18, 2007, the city of Charleston firefighters battled a massive fire as flames consumed the West Ashley store.

They rushed inside fearing that an employee might still be trapped.

That employee was able to escape, but the fire consumed the building and the roof then collapsed.

The word “mayday” is the last things we hear from the nine firefighters trapped inside.

We remember and honor those nine lives on this 13th anniversary.

  • Captain Billy Hutchinson
  • Captain Louis Mulkey
  • Captain Mike Benke
  • Engineer Brad Baity
  • Engineer Mark Kelsey
  • Assistant Engineer Michael French
  • Firefighter Brandon Thompson
  • Firefighter Earl Drayton
  • Firefighter Melvin Champaign

There are City of Charleston firefighters standing watch now for 24 hours at the Charleston 9 memorial. The annual memorial service will take a different approach this year due to COVID-19. It will still be held at the site of the fatal fire, now the site of the Charleston Nine Memorial Park, however, it will be closed to the public and will be limited to personnel conducting the service.. The service is scheduled for 7 PM tonight and will be live-streamed on the Charleston Fire Department Facebook Page.

There have been plans implemented to allow the family of the fallen firefighters to visit the site at scheduled times throughout the day. 13 years ago, many vowed that the Charleston 9 would never be forgotten, today we keep that promise.

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