BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) -- Three years ago tragedy struck the city of Bridgeport; two firefighters were killed battling a house fire. Wednesday, the city honored the fallen heroes with a moving tribute.
At St. Ann's Church and then later at the Ocean Terrace firehouse, members of the Bridgeport Fire Department gathered Wednesday to remember two of their brothers who paid the ultimate price three years ago.
"In the fire service whenever we do have a tragedy like that, it really leaves a mark on us," said Chief Brian Rooney, Bridgeport Fire Department. "It's such a hardship to get over and realize that they are never coming back."
It was July 24th, 2010, when 40-year-old Lt. Steven Velasquez and 49-year-old firefighter Michael (Mitchell) Baik went into a burning home on Elmwood Avenue, looking for possible victims.
They never made it out.
Wednesday, with members of both families in attendance, the city honored their heroism, making it clear they will never be forgotten.
"There's no less outpouring now as the first reception, people are moved by it, Steve and Mitch were heroes, their children need to know that and we will never forget their service," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Fitch.
Memorials have been put in place to forever honor the service of Lt. Velasquez and firefighter Baik.
However, for those who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with them moving forward following the tragedy has been, and will continue to be extremely difficult.
"When you see a certain car, you see a certain street, you see a certain building it brings back a lot of memories you've had with these two firefighters and the time you shared with them," said Chief Rooney.
Every June 24th, since the tragedy in 2010, the city of Bridgeport has held a memorial service in honor of the two fallen heroes.
The chief and the Mayor tell News 8 that is a tradition that will continue.
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