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City firefighters say prayers for fallen brethren



Published: Fri, September 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Safety forces in the county are collecting money to help victims' families.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

and AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- To many, the firefighters who responded during Tuesday's terrorist attacks died performing heroic acts.

But to those firefighters, it was likely a case of "just answering another call."

Orneil Heller, Warren Fire Department captain, made that statement Thursday during a prayer service outside the fire department.

He said safety personnel on the scene of the World Trade Center tragedy weren't seeking notoriety, but instead concentrated on doing their jobs the best they could, Heller said.

"We can't begin to understand the loss and suffering their loved ones are now dealing with," he explained during the ceremony to honor all victims who died during the attack.

Call for unity: Standing in front of the fire department, surrounded by more than 50 firefighters from surrounding departments, Heller said it's time for all Americans to pray together.

"We know there is a God and we ask God to heal the pain because man alone can't," Heller said. "We are indeed one nation under God and may God bless America."

The firefighters also lighted a candle that, Lt. Fel Romain said, will remain aflame until all firefighters are either rescued or laid to rest.

"We send our prayers to all the families of the victims," Romain said.

Ready if needed: Mayor Hank Angelo said 11 city firefighters are willing to go to New York to volunteer as soon as they are needed.

"We can send 11 and still be able to operate our departments," Angelo said. "If we could send all of them, I bet all would go. They all want to help."

Lt. Jeff Younkins said he volunteered to go and spoke with a union representative for New York firefighters, who said officials are trying to better organize relief efforts.

Additional personnel are not needed at this time, but may be in the future, Younkins said.

The grim task of assisting cleanup and rescue efforts would be gruesome and physically challenging, but definitely worth it, Younkins said.

The candle's flame represents firefighters' continued hope and faith that their missing New York counterparts will turn up safe, he added.

Collecting funds: Because of the deaths of firefighters and police officers in New York City, Trumbull County police and fire personnel are collecting money for the victims' families.

"So many of our fellow police and fire officers have lost their lives due to the devastating events that have occurred over the past few days," said Jeffrey Ford, a 911 dispatcher organizing the collection. "It is a tremendous loss when it is one of our own, but stop and think about losing your whole department -- not knowing where they are or if they are alive or dead. Think of their families, especially the children."

The money will be given to the local chapter of the American Red Cross, which will make sure the money gets to those in need, said Tim Gladis, 911 director.




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