Vendome Fire Memorial
In 1972, a tragic fire at the Hotel Vendome claimed the lives of nine firefighters, who were killed when a section of the burning building collapsed. Erected twenty-five years later, this granite and bronze structure honors those firefighters and marks the hotel’s former location. Its unadorned, modern design focuses our attention on the absence of the deceased men, symbolized by a helmet and a jacket draped over the curved wall. The memorial’s form developed through creative dialogue between the artists and the fireman who proposed the piece. Names of the nine men and an account of the events on the day of the fire are etched into the wall, along with quotations from firefighters reflecting on their vocation.