WILMINGTON, Del. (WTXF) - Gray skies matched the somber mood at Grace Lutheran Church. And a steady rain could have been mistaken for the tears that fell among those who came to mourn Jerry Fickes-- a firefighter who died doing what firefighters do.
The 51-year-old Fickes died alongside 41-year-old Christopher Leach early Saturday morning when a floor collapsed beneath them in a burning a rowhome in Wilmington. Four other firefighters were injured in a blaze now alleged to be arson. That news has added anger to the sorrow here.
Grace Lutheran was Fickes' church. He worshiped, there along with his wife and two sons. Members say he did not just attend the church, he belonged.
"He was a great role model for all of us. Always giving. Always volunteering," said Grace Lutheran Church member Sandy Betley.
And so throughout the evening they came-- from all over the region, all over the nation-- to pay respects and send a message: that those who protect us protect each other as well.
"This is really for their families to let them know that their loved ones' lives meant something," said Steve MacDonald with the Boston Fire Department.