Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Plaque unveiled for firefighters who died when building collapsed in Derry

A plaque has been unveiled for two firefighters who died in Derry when a building collapsed while they were fighting a fire in it.

Leonard McCartney and Lexie Wylie died when the Meville Hotel on Foyle Street, Derry, collapsed onto them on 21 November, 1971.

On Sunday, November 20, just before the 51st anniversary of their deaths, a plaque was unveiled at the location where the incident took place.

READ MORE: Traffic and travel advice for Derry Christmas lights switch on

Mr McCartney was 42 and lived in Violet Street. He had been a firefighter based in Northland Road Fire Station for 20 years and was survived by his wife Mary and three children Audrey, Robert and Alan.

Mr Wylie was 35 and had been in the fire service for 14 years, also serving at Northland Road Fire Station. He lived with his mother and sister at their family home in Galliagh.

Both have been described in the order of service for the unveiling as “popular and valued members of the team of firefighters who protected their local community day and night through those dark and dangerous times”.

The Fire Brigades Union’s Red Plaque Scheme commemorates all firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Plaque unveiled for Northern Ireland firefighters killed by building collapse (FBU and Trevor McBride)

Jim Quinn, FBU executive council member for Northern Ireland, said: "Leonard McCartney and Lexie Wylie were firefighters who did everything they could do to serve their communities for years. They fought fires and carried out rescues during a very dangerous period in our country.

"They carried out their duties with real bravery and lost their lives in a huge and tragic incident. It is absolutely vital that we remember them and their contributions across their time in the fire and rescue service. This plaque will go a long way to ensuring that that happens.”

(FBU and Trevor McBride)

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, added: "The FBU’s Red Plaque Scheme places plaques for firefighters who lost their in the line of duty as close to the place of the incident as possible. It is vital that history is remembered in the spaces it was lived. Doing that ensures that the community can really understand what happened.

"Mr McCartney and Mr Wylie were by all accounts extraordinarily brave firefighters who worked in a very difficult time for their communities. It is a privilege for the union to have a part in ensuring that they and what they did are remembered."

The Red Plaque Scheme is fully funded by proceeds from the weekly Firefighters 100 Lottery which has been able to create several Plaques each year since it began in 2017. Over time, as supporters of the Lottery continues to grow, more Red Plaques can be placed at the heart of communities affected by firefighter fatalities.


To get the latest breaking news from Co Derry straight to your inbox, sign up to our free newsletter.

Top stories on inkl right now
Related Stories
Meet the woman making healthy bakes for dogs in Derry
"A few years ago I took a career break and one of my neighbours last year suggested taking it to the next level and launching my own business."
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Trains, post and even coffin-making: Every strike likely to affect UK by end of 2022
From nursing to postal deliveries, few public services will be unaffected by industrial action this winter
The kids ran in screaming 'there's a fire in the backyard'
Telarah family watch their home burn down weeks before Christmas.
Fallen firefighter Louise Hincks honoured with memorial garden at Happy Valley CFS Brigade
A memorial garden in honour of Louise Hincks officially opens at the Happy Valley Country Fire Service Brigade, as her family and colleagues pay tribute to her legacy.
Christmas events happening across Northern Ireland to celebrate the festive season
There is plenty to do for all ages before Santa comes this year
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
A top LAFD official fled a crash but got rewarded instead of disciplined
LOS ANGELES — Late on a Sunday night, Ellsworth Fortman, an assistant chief for the Los Angeles Fire Department, walked out of Marci's Sports Bar and Grill in Santa Clarita and climbed into his Dodge Ram pickup truck for the drive home.