Palatine honors firefighters killed in 1973 Ben Franklin fire
Palatine firefighters and community members gathered Tuesday morning for a solemn ceremony to remember the lives and sacrifice of three of their own who perished 43 years ago battling one of the community's most notorious fires.
Volunteer firefighters Warren Ahlgrim, Richard Freeman and John Wilson were honored during the annual observance marking the anniversary of the Feb. 23, 1973 fire at the Ben Franklin store in the village's downtown.
The ceremony featured an honor guard procession, the tolling of a bell and the laying of a wreath at the Palatine Firefighters Memorial. It also marked the return of Palatine's first aerial truck, purchased earlier this year by West Dundee resident John Tobin, whose father, Dave, was among the Palatine firefighters on the scene of the Ben Franklin fire.
Tobin tracked the 1969 truck to Pierceton, Indiana, where it ended up after the Palatine department sold it in 1981 to downstate Salem, Illinois.
Among those attending Tuesday's ceremony were retired Palatine firefighters who fought the Ben Franklin blaze and Rose Ahlgrim, the widow of Warren Ahlgrim.