‘Deep significance’: VFD to hold 50th anniversary memorial service

Published 2:39 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

Half a century after an incident that ultimately claimed the lives of four Vicksburg firefighters, the department will hold a memorial service commemorating the fallen men’s service and legacy.

Vicksburg Fire Chief Derrick Stamps said the service will be held Wednesday, July 3, at 10 a.m. at Vicksburg Fire Department (VFD) Station 2, located at 4125 Indiana Ave.

“We will be hosting a memorable commemoration to honor the courageous members of the Vicksburg Fire Department who tragically lost their lives while serving the community,” Stamps said. “This event will mark the 50th anniversary of the incident and holds deep significance, serving as a powerful reminder of the selfless sacrifice made by our firefighters.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Stamps said Station 2 holds special significance to the fallen fighters. Construction of the station began in 1999. It was completed with its dedication in 2000 to honor VFD Capt. John Krueger, Lt. David Lewis, Lt. Johnny McBroom, and firefighter Jimmy Gibbs.

Stamps said that on July 3, 1974, firefighters responded to a call at Paul Pride Butane Company, initially thinking it was a grass fire near a butane tank. They soon discovered a butane leak, with approximately 15,000 gallons of butane blanketing the ground in a fog-like cloud. The butane cloud ignited from an unknown spark, leading to a truck bursting into flames. 

“This tragic event resulted in the untimely deaths of Capt. John Krueger, Lt. David Lewis, and Lt. Johnny McBroom and the injury of firefighter Jimmy Gibbs,” Stamps said. “Sadly, Gibbs succumbed to his injuries 38 years later, on May 13, 2012.”