CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The daughter of one of seven Charleston firefighters who died on March 4, 1949 says she’s beaming with pride knowing her dad was a hero.

Mary Kay Summers was just three weeks old when her father, Fred Summers, was killed in the Woolworth Department Store fire on the corner of Capitol and Quarrier Streets. He was 28 years old.

“It’s very emotional for me,” Summers, 75, told MetroNews during a 75th anniversary ceremony Monday morning. “It makes me realize even more of a hero my father was.”

Firefighters responded to the blaze in the basement of the former Woolworth building. As they worked to extinguish the flames, the first floor of the building collapsed on top of them. Some were able to escape, but seven others did not survive. There were 13 firefighters who were injured.

Summers said her dad was not scheduled to work that day.

“Mother said he was supposed to be off, but they needed all available men to fight this fire. She said when he went by the house where they were living, he rang the bell to her,” she said.

Monday’s ceremony included playing of the bag pipes and a bell ringing for each of the seven firefighters who perished. The city shut down a portion of Capitol Street and draped an American flag from fire trucks in the road to honor those who died.

Charleston Fire Cpt. Austin Smith said it’s important for the department to mark the anniversary each year.

“It’s a bringing us together and it’s reminding ourselves that tragedies do happen. It’s a reminder to the community of what we’re out here doing. We’re out here putting our lives on the line on a daily basis to protect and serve,” he said.

Smith said the department has learned to better respond to fires since that tragic day.

“The progression of the fire service is amazing. The technology has changed, but the core firemen personality is still the same,” he said.

Summers said all seven men will never be forgotten during one of the worst fires in the city’s history.

“They were all heroes,” she said. “I used to work with a lady that was my mom’s age. She said she remembered that day was like the say Kennedy was shot. People were walking about in disbelief and grief.”

A memorial plaque is located on the original building where Rock City Cake Company is now located.