Wilmington, DE - The funeral and memorial service was held for senior firefighter Ardythe Hope Saturday afternoon.
Hope passed away last week after suffering from injuries fighting a fire back in September. She was the third line of duty death resulting from the fire.
The fire happened in a Canby Park home on September 24th, and was since ruled arson by authorities. Hope sustained burns over 70 percent of her body and was in the hospital since the day the fire took place.
Lieutenant Christopher Leach and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes also died in the fire. Firefighter Brad Speakman was hurt but has since been released from the hospital.
Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode was too shaken up to talk after leaving the hospital where Senior Firefighter Hope died last Thursday. He released this statement over the phone:
“I along with the Wilmington Fire Department and City of Wilmington mourn the loss of our Senior Firefighter Ardythe Hope. Ardy is a 23-year veteran of the Wilmington Fire Department. As a female African American firefighter she has gone through a lot of adversity and will remain one of our best firefighters. Ardy is a single mother of three children. We want to give our condolences to the entire family. We will be standing and sticking by the family and assisting with all their needs. Keep us in your prayers as we deal with this difficult time. Ardy succumbed to injuries she suffered in the September 24th arson fire on Lakeview Road. She is the third line of duty death resulting from that fire.”
Hope was planning to retire from the department and serve the public in another form, becoming a nurse. She was the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty in the Wilmington Fire Department.
A full honors funeral is happening today for Hope. A public viewing began at 10:00A.M. and the public funeral/memorial will commence at 1:00 PM. The family will be having a reception at the Chase Center immediately following the service.