Gadsden, Alabama – The Gadsden Fire Department will hold their annual memorial ceremony to remember six fire department members that have died in the line of duty. The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. at the Central Fire Station at 322 Walnut St. in Gadsden.
Three of the fallen fire department members were killed on the same day 40 years ago in an explosion and fire at a service station on U.S. Highway 278. The explosion on Aug. 31, 1976 was the deadliest in department history killing Fire Chief James A. Speer and fire medics Michael Patrick and Michael Thornton. Assistant Chief Curtis Benefield died in the line of duty in 1958, Cmdr. Clyde D. Jacobs Sr. in 1980 and Cmdr. Gerald R. Smith in 1989.
The memorial ceremony will include an honor guard, memorial wreaths, playing of ‘Taps’ and the calling of the name and ringing of the bell for each of the fallen.