WORCESTER (CBS) – Of the hundreds of mourners at firefighter Jon Davies‘ calling hours Wednesday night, Jared Flanders of Worcester stood out.
The 11-year-old boy got all dressed up, tied his own tie, and rode his bike to the funeral home all alone, just to show his respect.
“I really like firefighters and it’s just really sad to see people dying like this,” he explained.
“So I just came here to support the family.”
Worcester firefighters spent part of the evening making sure Jared was able to handle the intensity of the evening – something the young man is unfortunately accustomed to.
His older brother was killed while serving in the military not too long ago.
Fire officials say Jared’s decision to attend the wake was a “wonderful thing” that means a lot to a suffering department.
It meant so much to them they invited him to ride on Davies’ truck during the funeral procession Thursday.
Firefighter Davies was killed when part of an Arlington Street triple-decker collapsed on him during a fire December 8. He had been trying to rescue someone he thought was trapped inside.
Among the other people paying their respects was David Ford, a 34-year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department. He retired just three weeks ago.
Just like Davies, Ford was on scene the night of the tragic Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire in December of 1999.
It’s a memory that keeps coming back this week.
“Our fire in ’99, we could not envision the amount of support that we got then,” Ford said. “I mean, I can still remember it, the number of people supporting us.”
He expects the same showing for Davies.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports
“It’s going to be a lot of people here,” Ford continued. “Like I said, for some reason…that ’99 fire has kind of put us on the map for the wrong reasons. I think we’ll have a wonderful showing of people.”
City officials expect 12,000 firefighters from near and far to attend.
“We didn’t know him personally but he’s a brother, he’s a brother firefighter,” said Captain Richard Allain of the Grafton Fire Department.
“It means a lot, not just to the family but it means a lot to all of us to see other brothers come from all over. It’s just a brotherhood that we respect.”