About the Fire
On July 4, 2002 at 0136 hours the Gloucester City Fire Department was dispatched to 200 North Broadway for a reported house fire. Responding units were advised that occupants may be trapped.
First arriving units were on location in less than three minutes. They found heavy fire on all exposures of a three-story multi-family dwelling and initiated a search for entrapped occupants.
While providing an aggressive interior attack and rescue operation, an occupant was rescued from the dwelling. Due to the severity of their injuries they were unable to give direction regarding the whereabouts of any other occupants.
While all hands were operating by continuing an aggressive interior attack and rescue, a partial collapse of the structure occurred. An emergency evacuation signal was sounded and while that was commencing a further and much more substantial collapse occurred trapping eight firefighters inside the burning debris.Additional specialized collapse rescue resources were requested, firefighter accountability was initiated and rescue efforts were intensified. Five of the eight trapped firefighters were rescued. Three of the eight made the ultimate sacrifice trying to save three sisters that were trapped inside. Unfortunately all three little girls also perished in the fire.