Coos Bay honors fallen firefighters

Coos Bay honors fallen firefighters

EUGENE, Ore. - Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. More than 340 members of the New York City Fire Department lost their lives in that tragedy.

 

Just over a year later, here in Oregon, the city of Coos Bay lost 3 of it's firefighters.

In November of 2002, Captain Randy Carpenter and firefighters Jeff Common and Chuck Hanners lost their lives while fighting a raging fire inside the Farwest Truck and Auto parts store. Coos Bay Fire Chief Stan Gibson says the roof of the building collapsed, trapping them inside the building.

Just as the nation had rallied in support of the first responders to the attacks in New York City, Gibson said the Coos Bay community came together in support of it's firefighters like never before. Gibson said 9/11 renewed respect and the way people thought about firefighters in their own community. "I think the awareness of what firefighters do and the risk that we face on a daily basis made people think they had firefighters in their community and they were not immune to those types of tragedies."

A memorial was built in downtown Coos Bay to honor the city's 3 firefighters and is dedicated to the sacrifices of all firefighters who've given their lives in the line of duty.

Gibson said the memorial was designed by Coos Bay firefighters and includes a tribute to the families of the three firefighters. "We designed it with 11 trees and those represent the 11 children that were left behind." He said they want the memorial to serve as a gathering place for the community.

At the Coos Bay fire station, a mangled piece of one of the World Trade Center towers now sits in front of the new building. It serves as a symbol, uniting 2 cities on opposite sides of the country and the shared sacrifice of heroic firefighters.