Social media lights up with firefighter tributes

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Mourners are taking to social media to pay tribute to two Toledo firefighters killed while fighting a weekend apartment blaze.

Thousands of condolence messages from all over the country have been posted on various Facebook tribute pages, and a page has been created for those who would like to take prepared meals this week to colleagues of the fallen firefighters.

Flags around the city have been lowered to half-staff, and the message “Gone But Not Forgotten” is flashing on two dozen digital billboards in the region, The (Toledo) Blade reported.

Autopsies released Tuesday showed that both Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, died from burns and carbon monoxide on Sunday.

Firefighters found both inside the burning apartment building, carried them out on stretchers and tried unsuccessfully to save them.

Investigators have not released a cause for the fire or details about what happened to the men.

A memorial service for the firefighters has been scheduled Thursday night at Toledo’s downtown convention center.

Masses in celebration of the firefighters’ lives are planned for Wednesday and Sunday at the Church of St. Patrick.

Dickman was on the job for six months and had previously been with the Perkins Township fire department near Sandusky. Machcinski had been a firefighter for 16 years. They worked at the same Toledo firehouse.

A Web camera trained on the National Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md., showed flags whipping at half-staff on Monday. Flags will remain lowered there and in Toledo for three days.

Jamie Armstrong, of Toledo, is organizing a citywide effort to provide meals for all of Toledo’s firefighters this week.

“When a family loses somebody the neighborhood usually comes together, they bring dinners for the week so you don’t have to deal with all of that in addition to your loss, and I thought wouldn’t that be cool if we could do that for the firefighters,” she told WTOL.

Toledo Fire Chief Luis Santiago has suggested people can make donations to the Toledo Fire and Rescue Foundation.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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