For hours after Thursday's memorial, thousands of firefighters came to the place where their colleagues died to see for themselves the burned-out warehouse that still holds four bodies.
Lt. James Karn traveled 3,000 miles from Clakamass County, Ore. "We certainly wanted to see where the incident took place and try and remember, say a prayer or two," he explains.
Instead of attending the tribute, many Worcester firefighters kept working as they have all week. Heavy machines tore apart the debris as they searched for badges, equipment, personal effects -- anything from those who died.
Worcester fireman John Conner was there Friday night when the doomed men who were suddenly trapped radioed for help. "Yeah, yeah, I could hear them," he somberly recalls. "And I knew that those other guys were going in to get them."
But they couldn't get them. Now, firefighters from surrounding communities are manning Worcester firehouses so that Conner and the men of his department can continue their search. Conner says, "Waiting's probably the toughest thing for firefighters to do because we don't pull back and wait. We act. Someone's in trouble, we act."
The memorial's finished, but again on Thursday the fire flared up. For John Conner and his colleagues, the anguish of what happened there seems to have no end.