Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Palatine is preparing to say farewell to a longtime resident and volunteer firefighter who was on hand in 1973 when three of his colleagues died on a call at a downtown store.

With an old fire truck planned as a backdrop, a memorial service for George Palmer Jr. will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, on the grounds of the George H. Clayson House Museum and Library, 224 E. Palatine Road. The truck, driven to the Ben Franklin store tragedy, was part of this year’s Palatine Fourth of July parade.

Palmer, 85, was living in Haines City, Florida, when he died suddenly Sept. 4, 2016. He died a day after sinking a 52-foot par putt on the ninth hole of his home golf course, believed to be one his greatest moments on the links.

He was known throughout Palatine as the owner of Palmer Plumbing and for his service as a volunteer firefighter. 

Palmer was with the crew that responded to the Ben Franklin store fire in downtown Palatine on Feb. 23, 1973. Volunteer firefighters John Wilson, who owned the shop, Warren “Auggie” Ahlgrim and Richard Freeman died of carbon monoxide inhalation while battling the blaze.

“Everyone wanted to save Johnny’s store, and nobody realized what kind of danger they were in,” Palmer told the Daily Herald in 2013. “They were good at eating smoke, but had they not had their air packs, they probably would have come out sooner. It was the brave thing to do. But in retrospect, they shouldn’t have gone in.”

Retired Palatine firefighter Bill Noland Jr. said he’ll be in his dress blue uniform for Palmer’s memorial service. Noland worked with Palmer and was one of the volunteer firefighters at the Ben Franklin blaze.