LEWISTON — Two were killed when a wall collapsed during the Callahan Block fire of 1909. Two died when Lewiston and Auburn firetrucks collided at Court and Main streets. Two others were run over. Two died of heart attacks. One was thrown off a ladder during a building collapse.
All were Lewiston firefighters.
And, soon, all will be memorialized with a stone monument in front of the city's Central Station on College Street.
"We just wanted to do something for these guys," said Rick Cailler, a Lewiston firefighter and president of the Lewiston Firefighters Association, which arranged for the memorial.
The two-and-a-half ton granite monument will stand more than 7 feet tall and will be more than 6 feet wide. It will be engraved with the names of the nine Lewiston firefighters killed in the line of duty over the last century.
The $10,000 monument was paid for by the firefighters' association using membership dues.
For at least 25 years, the names of the nine fallen firefighters have been listed on a plaque hanging inside Central Station, but about a year ago Lewiston firefighters decided they wanted a larger, more public memorial. They'd annually honored the 343 New York firefighters killed during Sept. 11, 2001, "yet we never really remembered our own," Cailler said.
When the anniversary of the 1982 death of Lewiston firefighter Gerard Desjardins came and went without acknowledgement, Lewiston firefighters decided it was time to create a monument to all of the Lewiston firefighters who had died.
"It's something that's well overdue," Cailler said. "It's honoring guys that sacrificed their lives and their families (who) gave up a loved one to protect the citizens of Lewiston."
Desjardin's daughter, Chris Malinowski, was 20 when her father was run over by a Fire Department vehicle while answering a false alarm. She'd grown up going to the fire station.
"It's like another family. And I still feel that bond with the Fire Department today. They bond. They're there for each other," she said.
Malinowski welcomed the idea of a large, public monument honoring all the city's fallen firefighters, including her father.
"At the time that he passed, he was making, I think, $4.50 an hour. He gave his life for $4.50 an hour. So they obviously aren't in it for the money. They're in it for the community, for the people around them and for each other," she said. "It's really nice they'll be memorialized."
The monument is being created by Collette Monuments in Lewiston. It's expected to be installed in about a month, with a formal dedication expected in the spring.
The Lewiston Firefighters Association is now looking for the family members of all nine firefighters to invite them to the spring dedication.
Family members may contact Cailler at 212-8185.
The nine firefighters listed on the memorial are:
* Capt. Phillippe Bazinet, 42. Born in Tabaskaville, Canada, he joined the department in 1900 and had been a captain on the Hose Company No. 4. He died on Dec. 24, 1909, when a wall collapsed at the Callahan Block fire at 274 Lisbon St.
* Thomas King, 28. He had been a substitute firefighter for a few weeks when, on Dec. 24, 1909, he was killed when a wall collapsed at the Callahan Block fire at 274 Lisbon St.
* Pvt. John B. Byrne, born in 1872 in County Kerry, Ireland. He joined the department in 1904 and became a clerk of Hose Company No. 1. He was thrown off a ladder and into the street on Feb. 8, 1910, during a building collapse at Main and Middle Streets. He died on Feb. 15 from his injuries.
* Pvt. Marcien Vallee, 27. Born in Lewiston in 1922, he was a veteran of WWII and joined the Lewiston Fire Department in 1948 . He died on July 7, 1949, when Lewiston and Auburn firetrucks collided at Court and Main streets in Auburn as both fire departments responded to a fire alarm. Another firefighter and an Auburn policeman directing traffic were also killed and several others were injured.
* Capt. Russell Tarr, 48. Born in Lewiston in 1901, he became a permanent member of the department in 1938 and was a captain at the time of his death. He died on July 7, 1949, when Lewiston and Auburn firetrucks collided at Court and Main Streets in Auburn.
* Capt. Willie Mailhot, 60. Born in Lewiston in 1904, became a permanent firefighter in 1938 and was a captain at the time of his death. He was run over by a Fire Department vehicle at a fire on Lowell Street on May 2, 1965.
* Private Paul Nadeau, born in 1913. He died of a heart attack on April 30, 1966, in the fire station, after battling fire at the Exchange Hotel on Chapel Street.
* Lt. Emilien Couture, born in 1926. He died of a heart attack while fighting a fire on Byron Avenue in 1967.
* Pvt. Gerard Desjardins, 35. He died on Sept. 6, 1982, when he was run over by a fire department vehicle while answering a false alarm.