Worcester Six – Worcester Cold Storage Fire

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-Worcester Six – Worcester Cold Storage Fire-

20 years ago on December 3rd, 1999 six Worcester firefighters died while fighting the Worcester Cold Storage Fire. I was there that night as a staff photographer at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, Mass. What I thought was a routine 3 alarm fire at the abandoned warehouse just a few blocks from the newspaper. I had photographed a few smoking but quick fires at this location before. Little did I know it would be become a devastating night in Worcester. I spent weeks to months covering stories with the talented T&G staff there as we tried to tell the story of the loss of these six brave men. It feels like it just happened. I can still remember that night and everything I saw, the smell, the sounds and the panic-despair on the faces all those firefighters as they tried to find their brothers. So many details still come back to me as I look at these images. While I hated to be the storyteller that night, I know photographic history like this does has its importance in our world.
What I can not write in my words, I could tell with my eyes for all to see.

Never forget the Worcester Six
Firefighter Paul A. Brotherton,
Lt. Timothy P. Jackson Sr.,
Firefighter Jeremiah M. Lucey
Lt. James F. Lyons III,
Firefighter Joseph T. McGuirk,
Lt. Thomas E. Spencer.

I’m no longer in the field of news photojournalism.  I left my position as a staff photographer after 10 years when I welcomed my 2nd son in 2005 and a 3rd son just a year and half later. I still use my skills as a photojournalism to tell stories of families through my portrait photography. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about my news days and all that I had witnessed that night and months following.

The Leary Firefighters Foundation has put together amazing stories mini episodes behind the fire.  You can watch episode one HERE  Some of my  images are always shown in the video.

For my photography friends. I was still film back then so these were photographed with my Nikon F100 , Fujifilm 70-200 mm and 17-35 mm lenses

Paula Ferazzi Swift T&G Staff Photographer © 1995-2005

Below are my photographs taken during the fire on December 3rd, 1999, weeks following up to September 16th, 2000 with the raw captions attached on the files used for the newspaper and Associated Press.
All photographs are ©Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Paula Ferazzi Swift/ Staff Photographer

TGFIRE: Worcester District Chief Michael McNamee is dwarfed by the mass destruction and rubble of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL. SHOOT DATE: 12/3/99.
Flames leap from the roof of the Worcester Cold Storage building on Franklin Street Friday night. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

Worcester, Mass., firefighters are seen battling a six-alarm blaze Friday evening, Dec. 3, 1999 in downtown Worcester at the abandoned Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse, where two fire fighters were killed and four others are missing in the blaze. (AP Photo/Paula Ferazzi Swift-The Worcester Telegram and Gazette)

TGFIRE-Friday night fire pix for Sunday page
FIRE SHOOTS OUT A WINDOW OF THE BUILDING AS A FIREFIGHTER WATCHES FROM A LADDER TRUCK. (A THIS POINT THE SIX FIREFIGHTERS WERE MISSING. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

Four Worcester firefighters entering Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Friday night after two firefighters were reported missing. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL: Smoke continued to billow out of old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building. This is shot from the top of Franklin St.
SHOT:12/5/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL: Firefighters continued to douse the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building. This is shot from the top of Franklin St.
SHOT:12/5/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL: Firefighters continued to douse the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building. This is shot from the top of Franklin St.
SHOT:12/5/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A Worcester firefighter pulls a hose as firefighters search thru the rubble of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A crane continues to take away the rubble as two firefighters who are tethered together search for the six missing firefighters at the Worcester Cold STorage etc. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

Firefighters search through the rubble of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning, Dec. 6, 1999 in Worcester, Mass. After working through the night to recover the remains of five comrades, firefighters evacuated the burned-out warehouse this morning because an 80-foot firewall threatened to collapse. (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Paula Ferazzi Swift)

TGFIRE: Worcester District Chief Michael McNamee is dwarfed by the mass destruction and rubble of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Doris McKiernan of Worcester is hugged as she greets to Worcester Firefighters at the scene of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building. McKiernan’s husband is a Worcester Firefighter. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL: (left) Mass. State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan and the Worcester District Chief Michael McNamee on the scene of a fire at the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. on Franklin ST. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: (left to right) Worceser District Chief Michael McNamee talks with Firefighters representative Frank Raffa moment before the 12pm press briefing at the scene.where 6 firefighters died in a fire. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )
TGFIRE: Piping from the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building lays in a pile in front of firefighters at the scene Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Firefighters search thru the rubble by looking through binocholars of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Using a Aerial Scope,firefighters search thru the rubble of the old Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company building early Monday morning.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A crane continues to take away the rubble as two firefighters who are tethered together search for the six missing firefighters at the Worcester Cold Storage. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A firefighter sits perched on a heating vent on a building as he uses binocholars to search for the six missing firefighters at the Worcester Cold Storage etc. sHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

A firefighter’s helmet sits on an expired parking meter at the scene of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building fire where six firefighters lost their lives last night. SHOT:12/6/99
(Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Matthew McCarthy, a West Hartford, CT firefighter stops to reflect the loss of six Worcester firefighters with his wife Kelly and their 21month old son Devon at the temporary memorial set-up on a Worcester fire engine. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )
 
TGFIRE: Firefighters stop to pay their respects at a make-shift memorial set-up on a fire engine near the scene of the Worcester Cold STorage etc. These are just some of the Worcester firefighters who were helping to serach for the six firefighters.SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A Worcester Telegram & Gazette with Monday mornings headline is laid within the flowers at the make shift memorial on a Worcester fire truck. SHOT:12/6/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: The fire engine is barely visible as it is covered with flowers and momentos in memory of the six firefighters who died. SHOT:12/13/99(Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A helmet from Engine 16 lays among the flowers and momentos left at the memorial site on the fire engine. The flowers will be dried out and made into potpourri. SHOT:12/13/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Two Shrewsbury firefighters visit the fire engine memorial. SHOT:12/13/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Fire investigators are framed in a window as they comb through the rubble in their search for answers. SHOT:12/13/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Firefighters salute as Worcester Engine 16 drives down Main Street with Joseph McGuirk casket on top of it. SHOT:12/14/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Firefighters walk along side Engine 16 as it carries Jospeh McGuirk’s casket past members of Firefighters Color Guard who are representing different towns/cities from the commonwealth. SHOT:12/14/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Firefighters salute as Joseph McGuirk ‘s casket is placed on top of Worcester Engine 16 by Worcester Firefighters outside of St. Pius X in Leicester. SHOT:12/14/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Firefighter Procession for the six fallen Worcester firefighters come out of the tunnel and up Main ST.. SHOT:12/8/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: The Red Cross hold hands as they march in the Firefighters Procession up Main Street. SHOT:12/9/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Ryan Turner of Charlton salutes firefighters as they march up Main Street in a procession for the six fallen firefighters. SHOT:12/9/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Three firefighters watch as a wrecking ball slams into a side of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building . SHOT:12/12/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: Nothing is left of the Kenmore Diner , it is now buried under rubble where a lone pepsi sign is sticking ou of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building . SHOT:12/12/99  (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A firefighter watches rubble fall onto what was once the Kenmore Diner that was atteched to the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building . SHOT:12/12/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGFIRE: A wrecking ball slams into a side of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. building . SHOT:12/12/99 (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

TGLOCAL: Denis Leary, Cam Neely, Bobby Orr and Derekk Sanderson gather
at the Worcester Fire Dept to announce the Leary Foundation to raise money for the Worcester Fire Dept. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

The Us, Canandian and Colorado State flag are hung at the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

Retired Worc Fire Capt Michael Coakley and Fire Lt Ed Ryan comfort one another at the 114th Int Assoc of Firefighters Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Colorado Springs CO (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )9/15/00

Michelle Lucey and her son John the widow and son of fallen firefighter Jeremiah Lucey make a rubbing of the fallen firefighters names at the memorial in Colorado Springs, CO (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF ) 9/14/00

Worcester Fire Dept. Color Guard at the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

Firefighters stand ontop of a fire engine and salute with Pikes Peak in the background at the beginning of the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (one of the firefighters is from Worcester no id) (PAULA FERAZZI SWIFT/ T&G STAFF PHOTO)

Worcester Firefighters hold flags encased in glass that were presented to the families of the 6 fallen at the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

 


Thousands attended the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

(left to right) A Worcester Firefighter (no id) presents a flag to Jeremiah M. Lucey III at the 14th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

(left to right) Patrick Spencer and his mother Kathy Spencer, Emily McGuirk and her mother Linda McGuirk become emotional after receiving flags encased in memory of their loved ones who died; Lt.Thomas Spencer and FF John McGuirk. This was the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )

(left to right) Michelle Lucey hugs a woman as Chief Dennis L. Budd wipes tears away after the 14 th Annual IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial held in Colorado Spring, CO. (Paula Ferazzi Swift/ T&G STAFF )
April 2000, the Photography staff of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for their coverage of the deadly Worcester Cold Storage Fire

 

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Paula Ferazzi Swift, a former staff photojournalist at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper in Worcester, MA 1995-2005 also holds two college degrees in the field of photography. Paula Ferazzi Swift was there the night of the deadly Worcester Cold Storage fire which took the lives of six brave Worcester Firefighters.

 Paula Swift Photography has won awards for her newborn, baby, children, family, maternity and high school photography through the Professional Photographers of America, and Professional Photographers Association of Massachusetts . You will find Paula Swift Photography’s beautiful new studio in Sudbury MA just about 20 miles west of the city of Boston. Paula Swift also travels throughout Massachusetts and New England for on location sessions. Paula’s photography specialties include maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, children photography, family photography, high school senior photography engagement photography, sports photography, and freelance photojournalism. Boston Family Photographer, MA Child Photographer and Award-winning Boston Photojournalist, Paula Swift Photography offers a wide range of photography skills for all her sessions.  Paula Ferazzi Swift is the author of Storytelling Portrait Photography – How to Document the Lives of Children and Their Families     Paula offers photography workshops in her storytelling portrait photography and studio newborn photography. See her workshop page above for more info. Paula Swift was a 2019, 2018 and 2014 Photographer of the Year Bronze Medalist by the Professional Photographers of America. www.ppa.com

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