Coos Bay marks 10 years since blaze killed 3 firefighters
COOS BAY, Ore.-- It's a scar on the City of Coos Bay.
Sitting downtown in front of city hall is a permanent reminder of the ultimate sacrifice given by three first responders in the line of duty.
Friends and family of Captain Randy Carpenter and firefighters Chuck Hanners and Jeff Common gathered in front of the memorial on Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of when their loved ones were killed.
The three men died when the roof of the Farwest Truck and Auto Suppy store would collapsed on them back in November 2002.
To this day, the Coos Bay Farwest Fire remains the worst loss of life a fire department has experienced in modern Oregon history.
"Ten years goes by pretty quick," said Bradley Carpenter, Capt. Randy Carpenter's brother. "It's a lot faster than I thought it would be, and when you get treated as well as the city has treated my family, time flies pretty fast. We never thought we'd be here at all, let alone 10 years later."
As another year goes by, friends and family placed flowers on the memorial, shared memories and lifted up each other. After a small service, they returned for a picnic lunch.
Charities have been set up in honor of the men. Bradley Carpenter says his brother's legacy will live on through a charity set up in his same that strives to educate and train firemen about the best safety techniques in the business.
"Education never stops," Carpenter said. "He was one of those who said 'you can never be overly educated. It's the separation from a good firefighters from the best firefighters you can be' was one of his slogans."