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In Ceremony Honoring 'Fallen Heroes,' New Calls For Firefighter Contract

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Flowers are seen outside of City Hall Tuesday during a ceremony. Flowers are seen outside of City Hall Tuesday during a ceremony.
Bag pipes played and there were many tears outside City Hall Tuesday as hundreds of firefighters and the families of three firemen who lost their lives in the line of duty this past year paid tribute to the fallen heroes.

"They are three Philadelphia heroes now and forever," said Firefighters Union President Bill Gault.

"Today we are here to honor three men who died as heroes and that's how they should be celebrated, heroes," said Michael Goodwin Jr., the son of Captain Michael Goodwin, who lost his life on Saturday

Goodwin died when the roof collapsed on a store at 4th and Fitzwater in Fabric Row in Queen Village.  As his family grieves , the families of Lt. Robert Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney are still in pain, one year after their loved ones died in a warehouse fire in Kensington.

"We lost a son, we lost one of my babies and a mom should not lose a baby. He was 25-years-old," said Marion Sweeney, Daniel's mother.

"When they're hurting, I'm hurting," said Diane Neary. "And when I'm hurting, they're hurting."

Diane Neary lost her husband in the raging Kensington warehouse fire. As of yet, no one has been held responsible. A grand jury is still investigating. She took the occasion to demand that the city's brave firefighters finally get a new contract.

"Give these men their just reward," she said. "Stop standing around idly and honor this fellowship of firemen."

"We recognize their great service and sacrifice," said Mayor Michael Nutter. He was not at the ceremony, but praised the fallen firefighters. He called the contract a separate issue.

"I'm not gonna' talk about a contract when we're talking about someone's life," Nutter said.

Fire investigators continued to sift through the rubble at the Queen Village fire scene Tuesday as they searched for the cause and origin. They removed three hot water heaters from the site.On Monday they took away a circuit breaker and fuse box.

They hope to enter the basement, where they believe the fire may have started, on Wednesday.

No cause has been determined yet.

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