News

Community honors York firefighters killed in building collapse

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | Mar 29, 2018 12:41 PM
28BS-FIRE1.jpg

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger presents the IAFF Medal of Honor to York City firefighter Ivan Flanscha's wife Casey during a public memorial service honoring York City firefighters Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at the York Expo Center. Flanscha and Anthony were killed in the line of duty Thursday, March 22, 2018, while containing hot spots the day after a three-alarm fire consumed the old Weaver Organ and Piano building in York. (Chris Dunn/York Daily Record)

(York) -- Prayers, music and personal stories were all part of a memorial for two fallen York City firefighters that drew 5,000 people to York Expo Center from across the country. 

Zachary Anthony, 29, and Ivan Flanscha, 50, were on the fourth floor of the old Weaver Organ and Piano building on March 22, putting out hotspots from what had been a three-alarm fire, when a wall collapsed, killing them and injuring two other firefighters. They're the first York City firefighters to die in the line of duty since 1971, and the twelvth and thirteenth to be killed in the history of the York fire service.

Speakers included Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, who along with U.S. Representative Scott Perry presented American flags that had flown over the capitol to the firefighters' families.  

Speaking to the crowd, York City Fire Chief David Michaels said the two men made the community a better place, and touched many lives. 

"As a department, we will continue to remember Ivan and Zach by continuing to answer the calls for help... it was my greatest honor to be their chief."

For firefighters, their deaths are a stark reminder of how dangerous the job can be, and why they are rightly hailed as heroes.

But Casey Flancha said her husband Ivan was a hero not just when he was on duty, reading an account of his everyday heroism from her personal journal, written years ago. "I thank God for Ivan. I think God threw him into my path, because he was a reminder of what I should be striving for." 

Flanscha, who leaves behind children and many extended family members, was remembered also as a skilled musician with a degree in classical guitar from York College, who played in hard rock bands for much of his life. 

Sam Anthony said his brother Zachary was a friend and mentor. "Zach was a great man. He will be missed, remembered and honored... Zach would have loved this."

Michaels admired Anthony for his adventerous spirit and his giving personality.

FIRE-2.jpg

Retired firefighter Ronald P. Scott of Coatesville holds hands with his neighbors during the closing prayer at a public memorial service honoring York City firefighters Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony Wednesday, March 28, 2018, at the York Expo Center. Flanscha and Anthony were killed in the line of duty Thursday, March 22, 2018, while containing hot spots the day after a three-alarm fire consumed the old Weaver Organ and Piano building in York. (Chris Dunn/York Daily Record)

After two hours of memories and prayers, the ceremony ended with an old firefighters' tradition: the dispatcher calling the last alarm. 

Three times, the radio operator called for Anthony and Flanscha. 

Finally, he said, "Last alarm for firefighter Anthony and Flanscha. They have gone home."

Flanscha and Anthony's names will be added to the fireghter's memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Their helmet numbers are being retired by the York City fire service.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the fire at the Weaver Organ and Piano building and has said it may have been accidental.

FIRE-3.jpg

Smoke can be seen from a fire on Highland Avenue in West York as a procession arrives at the York Expo Center for the memorial service for York city firefighters Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony. Fire fighters from throughout the region staffed York's fire stations so they could respond to fires such as this one while local firefighters could attend the memorial. (Paul Kuehnel/York Daily Record)

Published in News, York

Tagged under ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »