22 years after four Seattle firefighters died in the Mary Pang warehouse arson, the loss continues to loom large for SFD. The department’s Joint Training Facility in southeast West Seattle has a new memorial to the lost firefighters, thanks to a local Eagle Scout who officially presented it at a ceremony this afternoon.
Ben Beale is an 18-year-old O’Dea HS senior who is a member of West Seattle Troop 282. He and his troop were at the JTF this afternoon along with SFD Chief Harold Scoggins (with Ben in the photo above) and other SFD representatives, including firefighter Isaac Rivera, who introduced Ben and worked with him on the project, for which Seattle Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 27 was also acknowledged:
Before the ceremony, we asked Ben how he first heard of the Pang arson tragedy, which happened years before he was born. He explained that his brother also had created a memorial which was on display at West Seattle’s Fire Station 32 (and will be returned when the new FS 32 is complete). He decided to make one for the JTF.
Along with a small-scale model of Hai Ying Wu‘s Occidental Square memorial sculpture, its materials include rock, rope, and rough-hewn wood, to show the challenging circumstances in which firefighters risk their lives. “Firefighters work hard, and find a way to get things done,” he noted.
Ben’s project will be permanently on display in the JTF administration building’s main hallway. While it’s not routinely open to the public, the building does host some public events (such as community meetings in the past year related to the nearby Myers Way Parcels), so look for it if you go to one.