Boston's "Forgotten Fire"

Memorial to the fallen firefighters from the Luongo Fire

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

I have always believed that one of the greatest human desires is to not be forgotten once we have died. To live a life of meaning. This sense of purpose can come from our families, forging strong bonds that survive generations. It may come from a dedication to work, a true sense of vocation. However, I believe that through it all, there is a strong need for a human connection, great and small.

Huge American Flag Between Two Firetruck Ladders

Last week on November 15, 2012, the Boston Fire Department along with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center remembered six fire fighters who died in the line of duty. They died when a brick wall collapsed while fighting the Luongo Restaurant Fire. The fire had been contained and was almost under control when the wall collapsed. Although it made headlines for a few days, it was quickly overshadowed by the Cocoanut Grove tragedy 13 days later. Thus, their sacrifice, and East Boston’s sorrow, became known locally as the “forgotten fire.”

A closeup of the memorial

On Thursday, a blustery cold day, the fire department hung a large American flag between two fire engine ladders. It billowed majestically in the breeze. An antique fire engine was also present. The fire department dedicated a beautiful memorial to the fallen six, with descendents of the fallen six present to place white roses on top of the memorial. A bell chimed after each name was read aloud.

Old Fashioned Fire Truck

There were speeches by politicians and by family members. Through it all, the work and sacrifice of the six men who died was remembered.  Finally, after 70 years, the Luongo Fire is no longer the “forgotten fire.”

© Ramona Flightner

  • bill

    Thanks mona… those folks lost in the fire deserve to be memorialized. The question that comes to mind is: Why did it take the City of Boston… so many years to create a memorial ? How is this possible ? It just seems outrageous to me.


    Ramona I was a person, like John, who had never heard of this fire. Thanks for the info.


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