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Survivor of deadly fire to speak at Geneva seminar

It did not get the attention of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, but a massive 2007 blaze in South Carolina was the deadliest firefighter disaster in the U.S. since 9/11.

One of the first firefighters at that scene, who later plunged into a deep depression from “survivor’s guilt,” will talk next month in Geneva about those dark days and how he emerged from them.



Dr. David Griffin, battalion chief for the Charleston (SC) Fire Department, will be the keynote speaker for the Geneva Fire Department’s annual winter seminar. The Feb. 9 event, which annually draws hundreds of firefighters from the Finger Lakes region, will be at the Smith Opera House.

“This is one seminar you don’t want to miss,” said GFD Assistant Chief Kevin Powers, event organizer.

Griffin was the driver of the first engine to respond to the 2007 Sofa Super Store fire that claimed the lives of nine of his fellow firefighters and injured close to 20 others. Plagued with survivor’s guilt afterward, he numbed himself with alcohol, painkillers, and blood sports to the point that it nearly cost him his life.

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