State leaders reflect on the Charleston 9 - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

State leaders reflect on the Charleston 9

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Mayor Joe Riley, File Photo (WCIV) Mayor Joe Riley, File Photo (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)-- "Never forget" is a phrase often spoken in regards to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. After June 18, 2007, the phrase hit closer to home.

The evening of June 18, 2007 nine Charleston firefighters lost their lives when a roof collapsed during a massive blaze at the Sofa Super Store on Savannah Highway in West Ashley.

"We should never forget the firefighters," said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. "We should never forget what the families went through. We should always remember that things can be improved."

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley asked the community to never forget the Charleston Nine, and he along with other city leaders have made it their mission to remind us.

"It's hard to believe it's been five years," said Senator Lindsey Graham. "I would say they did not die in vain. As a result of this tragedy, we're modernizing the way we fight fires and going into big buildings that are structurally compromised."

Every year since that fatal night, the city  has honored the fallen with a ceremony at the site.

"I think about them everyday and certainly every night," said Riley. "I along with many people have them in our memories and in our prayers."

Riley says the city will keep honoring the Charleston Nine and that their sacrifice is etched into the city's history.

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