Line-of-Duty death anniversary for Wilmington Firefighter Joe Willard
In the early morning hours of June 17th, 1893, an alarm of fire was sounded at the Calder Brothers warehouse of South Water Street near Ann.
During the fire the roof along Water Street fell in, causing the top part of the wall to bulge out and fall. Firefighter Joe Willard, a member of the Wilmington Hook & Ladder Company could not get out of the way of the falling bricks and was struck by the wall. Other firefighters were injured, but none as severely as Joe. Firefighter Joe Willard, only 22 years of age, died at the scene.
He had spent the previous evening with his family and friends enjoying himself. When the fire bell struck, he said, "I don't want to go to the fire" but he went anyway, knowing it was his duty to go. Remembrance flags have been placed at his grave site for the week.