Wilmington’s Fallen: Injured Firefighters Making Progress

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Wilmington: Although LT. John Cawthray and Senior firefighter Peter Cramer was transported to Christiana Hospital, they have since been released. they were able to assist their fellow firemen in carrying their fallen to their respective funeral homes on Monday.

In the meantime, Firefighters Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman remain hospitalized at Crozer Chester Medical Center. In a recent press release, Wilmington Battalion Chief James Jobes said, “Speakman was upgraded to stable condition Wednesday and Hope remains in stable but critical condition”.

At his request, Brad’s wife, Lauren, posted news and pictures on Facebook. The postings were shared using hash tag #Speakmanstrong. She says, “He will remain at Crozer for at least a month. Brad continues to improve every day. He is more alert and his spirits seem a little better each day. He gets his dressing changes with wound debridement each morning to assess the wounds. The wounds are changed every day so it is difficult to assess the definite needs at this time.”

She also shared other progress Brad is making, such as walking down the hall to wave to everyone in the waiting room. The progress is based on how he is feeling each day she says.”

“It is evident having his brothers with him is helping him mentally,” Lauren Speakman said. “We are incredibly grateful for the love and support from everyone. We appreciate all the offers to help at this time. We promise to reach out when we figure out what we need. We have a long road ahead of us. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! Please stay safe and take care of each other during this difficult time.”

Shared by the Newcastle County Uniformed Firefighters IAFF Local 4417 Facebook page an update from Bobby Cummings Facebook page, “Ardythe Hope My sister-in-law has been upgraded to stable while critical. It’s not easy. Please continue to pray for Ardythe Hope! It means so much to me and my family!” Ardythe Hope is Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings sister in-law.

Supporters continue to raise money for the families of Leach and Fickes.

A GoFundMe page started by the Wilmington’s firefighter union, the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1590, had surpassed its initial goal of raising $50,000 for the family. The fundraiser was up to $56,000 as of mid-afternoon Wednesday and continues to accept donations.

Individual funeral services will be held Friday for Leach and Fickes, and a joint memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. The service is expected to draw at least 2,000, with first responders from around the country expected.


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