Our Lady Star of the Sea Church Fire Memorial


Marker is located at the northeast corner of California and Atlantic Avenues.

Marker text:
This memorial is dedicated the first day of December, 1996 to the posthumous memory of the first two Atlantic City firefighters to die heroically in active service.

Placed on the occasion of Our Lady Star of the Sea's observance of the 100th anniversary of the St. Monica's Church fire on this site
the second day of December, 1896.

Former Assistant Chief William H. Doherty
Good Will H&L

Thomas L. Blakney
Chelsea ACFD

"...No greater love..." John 15:13

Additional information:
The fire in St. Monica's Church began in a chimney on December 2, 1896 during mass. Father Petri, smelling smoke, sent a messenger to the fire station across the street. Firefighters from Chelsea Fire Company No. 6 and the Good Will Hook & Ladder Company responded, but due to the below-freezing temperatures and strong winds, the fire proved extremely difficult to fight. Everyone was ordered out of the building as collapse became imminent, but two firefighters, William H. Doherty and Thomas L. Blakney (also known as Thomas Lenny), never made it out. They were the first two volunteers to die in the line of duty in Atlantic City. In the aftermath of the church's destruction, Our Lady Star of the Sea church was constructed.

For more information, see:
Kemp, Franklin: "Firefighting By The Seashore"

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