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Published on May 10, 2008
The Enterprise of Brockton, Mass. www.enterprisenews.com By Kyle Alspach ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER BROCKTON — After more than 67 years, the deadliest fire in the city's history finally has a fitting memorial.
Many hundreds crowded into City Hall Plaza Saturday morning to see the dedication of the Strand Theatre Firefighters Memorial statue, a bronze-and-granite tribute to the 13 firefighters who lost their lives as a result of the theater blaze on March 10, 1941.
The memorial, which stands more than 10 feet tall and shows a firefighter kneeling with his head down, sits in the plaza about 100 feet from where the Strand Theatre once stood.
It was announced during Saturday's event that the statue depicts Edward Burrell, a retired Brockton fire chief and the only living member of the force that responded to the fire.
"It's a great monument for those 13 firefighters. It was a long time coming," said Burrell, 93, after the dedication. "I never thought I'd be here to see it."
The crowd endured chill winds throughout the nearly two-hour event, and broke into cheering as the statue was unveiled.
Twelve firefighters were killed when the theater's ceiling collapsed suddenly, and a 13th later died from his injuries.
It remains one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history.