Black History Month: WFD remembers firefighters killed in 1868 Valentine’s Day fire

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Two African-American volunteer firefighters were killed on Valentine's Day 1868 (Photo: WFD)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In honor of Black History Month, the Wilmington Fire Department is reflecting on the lives of two volunteer firefighters killed fighting a fire on Valentine’s Day in 1868.

Firefighters Robert Bellamy and Richard Merrick fought a fire all night on February 13th along Market Street between Front and Water Streets.

They were inside one of the burned structures when a wall collapsed around 5:30 a.m. on February 14, trapping them and others (civilians) who were close by.

After a drastic search, their bodies were found crushed beneath the rubble.

Bellamy and Merrick were members of the African-American Cape Fear Company #3.

They were buried with public honors, however, their graves have never been found.

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