Worcester Fire Fighter Memorial Design Competition Finalists on Display at WPI

WORCESTER, Mass. -- September 20, 2004 -- The public is invited Thursday, September 23, to view the finished work of the five finalists for the design of the memorial for the six Worcester firefighters who died during a warehouse fire in 1999. The public viewing will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, September 23, in Alden Memorial Hall at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road.

The five finalists are Stephen Stimson Associates of Falmouth, Ben Smoot of Brookline, Benjamin Kou of Cambridge, Chuni Wang of Waltham, and Gala Simon Associates Inc. of Watertown.

The Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee, which is establishing a memorial and memorial park to honor the firefighters, issued the invitation for the public to view the five finalists' designs.

"This is the first, and only, opportunity to view the finished work of the five finalists chosen by our design competition jury to compete for the privilege of designing the most fitting tribute we can envision to the courage of the six brave firefighters who sacrificed their lives for our safety," said Michael J. Donoghue, chairman of the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee. "Through this public viewing, our committee is continuing its commitment to the public to share in the tribute to our fallen heroes."

A blue-ribbon jury is meeting in Worcester Thursday, Sept. 23, and Friday, Sept. 24, to select the winner in the two-stage national design competition held to determine the ultimate design for the memorial and memorial park. The jury will meet privately to review the five finalists' entries, and to vote on the first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishers. The winner will receive a prize of $30,000 and will be given an opportunity to further develop the design of the memorial and memorial park.

The committee solicited design entries nationwide this past spring. From that, 158 designers submitted entries. They were judged by the same jury in July. It picked the five finalists whose finished work will be on display Sept. 23. Unlike the entries in July, the ones on display and under review by the jury this month will be scale models showing comprehensive plans for the memorial and memorial park.

The public also was invited in July to view the 158 original entries in the design competition. Hundreds of people attended that public viewing, which featured only poster-board-sized drawings of the memorial designs submitted by entrants.

The $3-million to $5-million memorial and memorial park are to be built through a public fund-raising campaign. The site is next to Worcester Fire Department headquarters on Grove Street on Salisbury Pond across from Institute Park.

The Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee began working in late 2001 to establish a memorial to honor firefighters Paul A. Brotherton, Timothy P. Jackson, Jeremiah M. Lucey, James F. "Jay" Lyons III, Joseph T. McGuirk and Lt. Thomas E. Spencer. They died December 3, 1999, trying to save the lives of others in an abandoned warehouse off of Interstate 290 near downtown Worcester. Their deaths were the worst loss of firefighters' lives in more than 20 years in a building fire in America, and the third worst fire in Massachusetts' history.

More information about the members of the design competition jury, the five design finalists, and pictures of their original designs that won them finalist status are available at the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Web site.