Crowds of people gathered Sunday to honor two Pittsburgh firefighters who died trying to save the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
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The church, which dates back to 1875, was layered with history. Martin Luther King Jr. visited it, and the American Civil Rights Movement had roots there.
On March 13, 2004, all of Pittsburgh could see smoke rising from the Hill District as the city celebrated the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Dozens of firefighters were hurt trying to save the church.
“And then the tower fell, and you just stood there in disbelief at what just occurred, just for that split second, and then you start running to see who you can help,” said Inenell Leonard, who also fought the flames that day.
The families of Richard Stefanakis and Charles Brace attended a service to honor the fallen firefighters Sunday at the rebuilt church.
“It’s hard. I feel like I’m staying over where he died,” Stephanie Stefanakis said. “I guess God needed an angel. I wish he wouldn’t have taken mine, but he did.”
City leaders said the tragedy came with lessons.
Source: WTAE | Shannon Perrine