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Thousands attend memorial for 2 Ohio firefighters

TOLEDO, Feb. 3, 2014 (AP): Caskets covered by US-American flags sat before a crowd of several thousand as two Toledo firefighters who died while battling an apartment blaze were praised Thursday for embracing a profession in which they ran toward danger instead of away from it.

James Dickman and Stephen Machcinski

Firefighters from Ohio and around the nation gathered inside Toledo’s downtown convention center to celebrate the lives and service of Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, who died fighting a blaze inside a six-unit apartment building on Sunday.

``They deserve, and rightfully so, the title of heroes,'' said Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, a former police officer.

Radio calls from the scene of the fire indicated that the pair faced rapidly deteriorating conditions once inside the burning apartment building near downtown. Firefighters found them inside, carried them out and tried unsuccessfully to save them.

Autopsies released this week showed that Machcinski and Dickman died from burns and carbon monoxide.

At the memorial service, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown hailed Machcinski , 42, and Dickman, 31, as men of integrity who loved their families and took pride in their work.

Machcinski had been a firefighter for 16 years. Dickman was on the job for six months and had previously been with the Perkins Township fire department near Sandusky. Friends said Dickman joined the Toledo department because it was his dream to work with a big city department.

A funeral was held for Private Dickman on Friday afternoon in Sandusky. The funeral for Private Machcinski was Saturday morning in Toledo.

Investigators have not released details about what led to the deaths but criminal charges of aggravated arson and aggravated murder were filed against the owner of the building, Ray Abou-Arab, 61, on Friday, pending arraignment on Feb. 3rd  in Toledo Municipal Court.

Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/04/14 20:56:48 -0800.




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