Mass in Center City Honors Fallen Firefighters

Members of the city’s firefighter community gathered to honor some of Philadelphia’s finest.

The 7th Annual Memorial Mass was held on Saturday at the St. John the Evangelist Church on S 13th Street in Center City to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty.

The Mass, which began at 10 a.m., paid tribute to four firefighters who were killed while battling the great fire in February of 1899 that burned St. Johns and several buildings on the 1200 block of Market Street.

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Hugh Duffy, 44, William Chance, 32 and George Steinle, 38, were crushed to death by a burning wall that fell while they were fighting the fire. A fourth firefighter, James Shea, 41, died two weeks later from pneumonia he contracted during the blaze.

The mass also honored Captain Michael Goodwin, 53, who died last year after a roof collapsed beneath him while he was battling a fire in the Fabric Row section of the city.

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