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Funerals Held for Fallen New York Firefighters

Aired June 21, 2001 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to New York City. Again, that city is confronting its Father's Day tragedy. Sunday's fiery explosion at a Queen's hardware store left three city firefighters dead, all of them fathers.

Grieving families and friends, as well as shell-shocked colleagues from the emergency services will be gathering today for two funerals. The first is for Harry Ford. That is now under way. You're seeing it as it happens right now. That's a live picture. And that is the casket there, which was bore aloft on a fire truck just moments ago.

Our Jason Carroll is in Long Beach, New York this morning. He's standing by now with more -- Jason.

("AMAZING GRACE" PLAYS)

HARRIS: There, as we see the casket bearing the firefighter Ford into the church there, let us now go to our Jason Carroll, who's standing by there at Long Beach, New York -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, as you can imagine, this is such an incredibly sad scene out here. I'm looking at a number of people wiping tears from their eyes as they watch the casket of Harry Ford being brought inside Saint Ignatius Roman Catholic Church out here on Long Island.

As I said a little earlier, this is a man who took great pride in being a firefighter. He earned nine bravery citations during his 24- year career. This is a man who was loved by so many people who are out here. He is survived by his wife, Denise, and their three children: his two sons, Harry who's 12, Gerard who's 10, and his step- daughter, who is 24.

This is the first of two funerals that will take place today. Another one will take place for Brian Fahey, a 46-year-old man who lost his life in that Father's Day fire. Tomorrow, there will be a funeral for John Downing. He was 40-years-old. He is survived by his wife, Anna (ph),and their two kids.

As I look to my left, there are a number of dignitaries who are out here, including New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the governor of the state, George Pataki. We are expecting some 10,000 people, Leon, to attend this event. Only 700 can fit inside that church. So what they've done is they set up loudspeakers out here so everyone can hear what's going on inside and pay their respects -- Leon.

HARRIS: Jason, do you have any idea how many people are there right now? With the shot that we had just a moment ago, I could see at least one bus that looks like the type that usually goes on, sort of a tourist bus, that sort of thing. I did see one of those just to the left facing the church. I did see one. Any idea how many people are there?

CARROLL: It's tough to gauge. I would say thousands. I mean, we're standing in one part. And all I see are a sea of white hats and blue uniforms. But again, Leon, we're expecting anywhere up to 10,000 people to attend this event. We're told they're coming from as far north as Montreal, as far west as California. So thousands will be out here today to pay their respects for all three firefighters.

HARRIS: That is actually quite a picture. Moments ago, as you were talking, Jason, I just happened to look at another shot. And we do have now a shot of some, what looks like about maybe 15 or 20 of those buses that have been carrying people there to that church.

Jason Carroll reporting live from Long Beach, New York, we'll talk to you later on.

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