Wilmington Fire Dept. and community members cope with the loss of two veteran firefighters

- The fire now out, a shell of a row home is all that remains. 

That and the pain of the loss of firefighter Jerry Fickes and Lt. Chris Leach. Balloons now line the fence in front of the burned out home.

At Station no. 4, where Jerry Fickes was based, his locker has become his memorial. Black bunting is now draped over it.

And in the next room -- posted on the wall beside the memorial to the last city firefighter killed nearly 20 years ago is Jerry Fickes' last crossword puzzle.

“This was his crossword puzzle from that morning.”

So he was a crossword puzzle guy?

“Every day. Every day.”

The thing about being a firefighter is, you can't say, "I lost two friends yesterday. I'm not in the mood to work today."

And so they did, with heavy hearts, going on call after call, no rest for the weary.

“The job still has to be done, the community still has to be protected, and that's what we're here to do.”

So many calls that people like Walter and his daughter Shakira couldn't even find someone to drop flowers off to. Injured firefighter Ardy Hope inspired her in high school.

“My heart is heavy.

“She's the one who influenced me to go into the medical field.”

She eventually was able to make the delivery.

And Anthony Bradshaw and his family live across the street. They baked some cakes.

“Things like that do happen. So we just feel sorry for them.”

They were welcomed inside with handshakes and plenty of hugs.

Make no mistake. These firefighters do feel the love.

“All day, we've had visitors from all walks of life, and some just stopping in to say hello and some bringing food or other gifts or flowers.”

A small collection of flowers, as well, outside Station 6. Where first the bunting was draped over the front of their fire engines.

And then, from the roof of the building.

This is a city in mourning.

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