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Memorial garden to honor fallen firefighters


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    YORK, Pennsylvania (WPMT) — A memorial garden is planned for Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony, two York City firefighters who died in the aftermath of a fire in March 2018.

Flanscha, 50, of Red Lion, and Anthony, 29, of York, were inspecting hot spots the day after a major fire at the former Weaver Organ and Piano Company on N. Broad St. when the building collapsed. Both men died at the scene, while two others, assistant chief Gregory Atland and firefighter Erik Swanson, were injured.

Fresh flowers now mark the spot of the accident, but more plants will soon surround it.

“The sacrifice that they gave deserves more than just a memorial on a fence. We wanted to show that this is hallowed ground,” said Salvador “Sal” Galdamez, founder of community organization York XL.

The Ivan and Zach Memorial Gardens are a way of reclaiming the place for positivity and renewal, Galdamez said.

The project is a joint effort between York XL, the York Department of Fire/Rescue Services and the families of the two firefighters.

“Ivan loved being a firefighter, he was devoted to the community, and he took great joy in his family and many friends,” Judy Luckow, Ivan’s mother, said in a statement.

“We are so blessed that you are honoring Zachary with a memorial garden,” Zach’s mother, Karen Anthony, said in a statement. “We are pleased that he will be remembered forever in the city of York. Zachary would be humbled because he was ‘just’ doing his job, he was ‘just’ helping a friend, he was ‘just’ helping someone in need; because that is ‘just’ the love that Zachary had for everyone.”

The three-garden memorial will replace part of the Broad Street Greenway that local leaders said was installed without community input and didn’t meet the needs of the neighborhood.

“[Local residents] don’t feel that the gardens were intended for them,” Galdamez said.

York XL posted fliers in English and Spanish on 110 doors seeking community feedback on how residents wanted the new gardens to look.

“It was mostly, ‘M

ake it look pretty and whatever you put in there make sure that it’s maintained,’” Galdamez said.

The new design was done by Dannie Wright, a horticulturist at Longwood Gardens in Chester County. It includes seats, walkways, two sculptures to honor the firefighters, and an open area for future events.

“The families were ecstatic. They were really excited to have a place to take it calm and basically sit and think about their loved ones,” Deardorff said.

Organizers hope to break ground on the garden in mid- to late-April. A commemoration ceremony is planned for June 5.

“[The community] vowed not to forget and they have not forgotten. That’s very important to us,” Deardorff said. “We want them to be remembered for everything they’ve done for the York City community.”

The cost of the project is expected to hover around $200,000. One quarter of that will come from corporate sponsorships, while the other three quarters need to be raised through sponsored bricks.

Two brick sizes and colors are available for engraving, at a cost of $100 or $175.

York XL is also hosting an online remembrance program on Monday, March 22, the third anniversary of when Ivan and Zach died. The program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Details will be added to the York XL website.

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