CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Fire Department is marking a solemn anniversary on Capitol Street Monday. It’s been 75 years since seven firefighters died while battling a blaze at the former Woolworth Department Store.

On March 4, 1949, firefighters responded to a basement fire inside the Woolworth Building. The first floor gave way and collapsed, sending firefighters into the smoke and flames below. Some of the firefighters survived, but seven did not.

Thirteen firefighters were injured in the blaze.

Charleston Fire Capt. David Hodges said it’s important to never forget their fallen brothers no matter how many years go by.

“I don’t think there are any alive anymore who were at that fire; however, there is some family members and we do keep in touch. Traditionally every year we do place a small wreath and have a small ceremony,” he said.

A memorial plaque is located on the original building that still stands at the corner of Capitol and Quarrier Streets.

Hodges said the city on Monday will shut down a portion of Capitol Street for some time, given the 75th anniversary this year. A ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. outside the building, which is now where Rock City Cake Company is located.

“We want to step it up this year to have a little bit larger of a ceremony,” he said.

The job itself is very dangerous, Hodges said, so the annual ceremony is a good reminder for firefighters at the department.

“We really take that moment not only to remember the firefighters that we’ve lost but it’s also a reality check for our current firefighters that things can happen,” he said.

Hodges said they’re better prepared to respond to fires compared to 75 years ago.

“Well, 75 years ago the technology wasn’t there. The fire service is constantly evolving, and we’ve seen many changes for the good over the years including a lot more training,” he said.

It was one of the worst first in the history of the City of Charleston.