Firefighters Remembered


I'm Bianca Vazquez Toness in Scituate where friends and family gathered at Paul Cahill's home Thursday. So many people came, police directed traffic through Cahill's shady neighborhood

Family members politely declined to talk, but next door neighbors Mike and Martha Corcoran said Cahill was devoted to his wife and three kids.

MIKE CORCORAN: He's a good man, I always enjoyed talking with him, he's a good father, raised a nice family, loving wife, it's just a real tragedy.

MARTHA CORCORAN: I can always recall him just sitting out on his porch enjoying himself.

TONESS: Family and neighbors say he worked as an electrician during his downtime. Cahill served on the Boston Fire Department for 14 years.

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TONESS: Warren Payne spent the last three years living in Canton, and before that he lived in Newton Center.

KAREN MILLER: He was just a nice guy, such a nice guy.

TONESS: Karen miller is the president of the Boston Society of Vulcans, a group for black fire fighters in the Boston area. She said Payne was an active member of the 400-person organization and often spoke at his children's school about being a fireman and fire safety. Miller says Payne, who was divorced, talked about his two kids all the time.

MILLER: He just loved them, and he helped them with school, he couldn't do enough for them.

TONESS: Payne served 19 years in the Boston Fire Department. According to Miller, he was studying to become a Lieutenant.

SOUND FROM MEETING: Union President Ed Kelly...

TONESS: Kelly spoke at yesterday's press conference at city hall.

KELLY: Last night's tragedy in West Roxbury has devastated the Boston fire community. Right now our focus is to try and take care of the families of both Warren and Paul. They'll be sorely missed.

TONESS: Perhaps no one knows better about missing a fireman than Cathy Minehan.

MINEHAN: I am the spouse of Steve Minehan who was killed in the line of duty in 1994.

TONESS: 178 firefighters have died in the line of duty since 1852. And 13 of them are buried here, at the Boston Firefighters Memorial in Forest Hills Cemetary.

MINEHAN: I believe this plot of or this entire section belongs to the firefighters in the city of Boston, and any Boston firefighter can be buried here. And I know it signifies for the guys, it's a place for them to come and honor their own.

TONESS: Minehan says that while every fire is different, when a firefighter is killed she can't help but think of her loss.

MINEHAN: There's a lot of anger, a lot of depression, there's a whole grief phase that takes place, and it doesn't just take place and stop, it takes place and then it kicks you a few times. It's been 13 years for me and every once in a while I still get kicked.

TONESS: Wednesday night's fire kicked Minehan again and she says it will keep kicking Warren Payne and Paul Cahill's families for years. For WBUR, I'm Bianca Vazquez Toness.

Cahill and Payne's union has established a fund to help their families.
Donations may be sent to:

West Roxbury Firefighter's Fund
Boston Firefighter's Credit Union
60 Hallet Street
Boston, MA 02124

This story was produced with help from Sarah Bush.

This program aired on August 31, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.


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