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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Fire Department honors one of its fallen heroes today.

Firefighter Joe Willard died in the line of duty June 17, 1893. He was battling a blaze at the Calder Brothers warehouse on South Water Street when part of the roof of the building collapsed. Firefighters say Willard could not get out of the way of falling brick, was struck by the wall, and died on scene.

The fire department says for every person killed on the job, it lays a wreath on the person’s memorial in Empie Park, lowers the fallen firefighter flag and puts flags on their grave site.

“We don’t ever want to forget. This memorial is making sure we never forget our fallen; the ones that paid the ultimate price. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the community,” said Battalion Chief David Hines.

Yesterday, the department honored Charles Schibben, who served as chief for 37 years. Schibben was killed after his truck overturned three times when his driver swerved to avoid crashing into another car on 4th and Dawson streets in June 16, 1933.


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