Nine Charleston Firefighters Die In Blaze - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/19/07

Nine Charleston Firefighters Die In Blaze

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says nine firefighters were killed in a fire at a furniture store Monday night.

"Nine brave, heroic, courageous firefighters of the city of Charleston have perished fighting fire in a most courageous and fearless manner, carrying out their duties," Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley said at a morning news conference. "To all of their loved ones, our heart goes out to them."

The mayor also described the disaster as "difficult to fathom or quantify."

Riley says the bodies have been taken to the Medical University of South Carolina for positive identification. Riley says officials met with the families of the firefighters who were missing earlier Tuesday morning.

He says the names will be released after the identities are confirmed.

Riley says there is no indication of arson, but he says the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the State Law Enforcement Division are investigation. Officials say it appears to have started in a storage area.

Riley says two employees in the store made it out safely.

The mayor says the fire is a tragic event for the community and difficult to comprehend the magnitude.

The fire broke out early Monday evening at the Sofa Super Store and warehouse.

One witness described the fire as being like "a 30-foot tornado of flames."

Firefighters saluted as the bodies of their colleagues were taken from the warehouse.

More as it becomes available.

Posted by Bryce Mursch

Story, pictures and video provided by WISTV Raycom Media.Copyright 2007 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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