Thousands Arrive to Honor Firefighters Killed in Blaze

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Thousands of people are gathering at North Charleston Coliseum this morning for a memorial service to honor nine Charleston firefighters killed in a blaze Monday night.

Firefighters from across the nation and Canada are at the coliseum. Bagpipers are practicing in the parking lot for their part in the ceremony.

A long procession of about 100 fire trucks has begun winding through the streets of Charleston. The procession will move past firehouses and the furniture store where the firefighters died before heading to the coliseum.

The fire was the single largest loss of firefighters since the September Eleventh terror attacks.

Today is a day of mourning in Charleston. The first funeral is scheduled this afternoon.

Two Republican presidential candidates, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are to attend.