Services have been set for the two Wilmington firefighters who died battling a house blaze over the weekend.
A memorial service for Lt. Christopher Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes Jr., the first Wilmington firefighters to die on duty in 18 years, is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, according to the city's firefighters union.
The service will take place at 1 p.m. at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, 15 Justison Street in Wilmington.
The union says the event is open to firefighters, first responders, friends and the public. Doors open at noon.
The funeral for Leach, 41, will take place at St. Elizabeth Church at 809 Broom Street in Wilmington on Friday. A viewing for the 14-year fire department veteran is scheduled for 10 a.m., followed by a noon Mass. The viewing and Mass are open to family and friends, the Wilmington Fire Department and local first responders. Other public safety honor guards are also welcome, the union said.
A public viewing for Fickes, a 51-year-old who was a Wilmington firefighter for 13 years, will take place at Grace Lutheran Church, 2033 Graves Road in Hockessin, Del., from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday. A second viewing followed by a Mass – both for family, friends and Wilmington Fire Department members only – will take place Friday. The viewing will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and the Mass is to start at 4 p.m.
The cause of the fire, which broke out about 3 a.m. last Saturday at a rowhouse on the 1900 block of Lakeview Road, remains under investigation. Authorities said Monday that several nearby car fires were not believed to have been connected to the deadly blaze.
The state Fire Marshal's Office is leading the investigation into the fire. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also involved in the probe.
When Leach became trapped inside the home, Fickes and others tried to save him, Fire Chief Anthony Goode said Monday, according to the Delaware News Journal.
Two other first responders, firefighters Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman, remain hospitalized in critical condition, the news outlet reported. Two other firefighters were hurt but have been released from the hospital.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Leach's and Fickes' families.