Palatine honors firefighters' ultimate sacrifice
Standing outside in subzero temperatures that kept most suburbanites indoors, Palatine firefighters and community members paid tribute Monday morning to three fallen colleagues on the 42nd anniversary of the day they died battling a massive blaze in the village's downtown.
On Feb. 23, 1973, volunteer firefighters John Wilson, Richard Freeman and Warren Ahlgrim lost their lives fighting a fire in a Ben Franklin store.
Some of the firefighters who were there with them that day, along with Ahlgrim's widow, Rose, joined current members of the fire department at the Palatine Firefighters Memorial for a solemn ceremony recognizing their sacrifice.
Members of the Palatine Fire Department Honor Guard presented a wreath at the statue that stands at the memorial in recognition of the firefighters' service, and performed a bell ceremony honoring Wilson, Freeman and Ahlgrim.
The three volunteer firefighters were on the first hose line battling the 1973 fire in the downtown Ben Franklin store. They died while working to put out the fire in the store's basement.