The Willow Street Fire Company has lost two members in the line of duty in it’s history. These two individuals made the supreme sacrifice while attempting to save the lives of others. They put others first without regard for themselves or their own safety. The members of Willow Street Fire Company will never forget their sacrifice or that of all the others that have laid their lives down while serving.
MEMORIAL IN FRONT OF THE STATION TO OUR FALLEN HEROES
FIREFIGHTER DENNIS HACKMAN
On June 22, 1972 Hurricane Agnes struck the eastern seaboard and notably Lancaster County. During the ensuing deluge over 10″ of rain was recorded which caused record floods in the County. During the early 1970’s there were no specialized Rescue Company’s or swift water rescue teams. When the Willow Street Fire Company was summoned to rescue a man stranded in a tree in Martic Township, members took the Squad to Willow Valley Resort where small boats were kept for vacationers to utilize. The crew that day loaded a boat onto the Squad truck and responded to assist in any way they could. Part of that crew was Firefighter Dennis Hackman, a young man who was quiet in nature but always ready to assist in any way he could.
On arrival the boat was deployed into the raging, swollen waters of the Pequea Creek and within minutes the boat was capsized. Personnel on shore were able to save the others in the boat that day; however, the waters were too swift for Firefighter Hackman and he perished.
We will always remember the sacrifice of Firefighter Hackman who passed away trying to save the life of another.
MEMORIAL BRICK IN MEMORY OF DENNIS AT THE COUNTY TRAINING CENTER
EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN ETHEL M SPEROS
She was affectionately known as “Ethel the Nurse” by the 455 employees at Burnham Corporation where she worked as an industrial nurse. Friends and fellow emergency medical technicians knew Ethel as a hard worker, dedicated to helping others through her work as a licensed practical nurse, emergency medical technician with the Willow Street Fire Co. Ambulance.
During her years as a volunteer with Willow Street, Ethel received the Jefferson Award for “outstanding public service benefiting local communities” and the Joel E. Grottenhaler Volunteer Recognition Award from the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council.
Heroic rescues were nothing new to Ethel. She and her husband Ernest once rescued a man from a burning car just seconds before it exploded. However, on Monday, November 11, 1988, Ethel’s heroic attempt to rescue an accident victim from his car failed, and she was crushed by a falling wall. The victim had lost control of his car and smashed into the front of a house.
Ethel had crawled into the car’s back seat to support the victim’s neck so he could be placed on a backboard. As she worked, the front wall on the second floor of the house collapsed causing tons of bricks to fall on the top of the car in which Ethel worked. Without any warning, she was pinned across the back of the front seat. Rescue workers, assisted by the homeowner and his bulldozer, removed Ethel from the wreckage. She was resuscitated and taken to Lancaster General Hospital where she remained for two months before being transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. Unfortunately, Ethel never recovered from the injury she received during the rescue attempt in 1988. She remained bedridden and comatose until her death on March 15, 1991.
Ethel and Ernest Speros had two daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and one son Ernest.
The accident victim Ethel attempted to help was sentenced to 23 months in prison for drunk driving.
We will always remember the sacrifice of EMT Speros who passed away trying to save the life of another.
MEMORIAL BRICK IN MEMORY OF ETHEL AT THE COUNTY TRAINING CENTER