City of Binghamton, New York

City Dedicates New Rockbottom Fallen Firefighter Monument

4/27/2017

BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David joined Fire Chief Daniel Eggleston, IAFF Local 729 President Dave Holleran and Parks Commissioner Bill Barber to dedicate a new memorial monument to honor three firefighters killed in a 1975 river rescue mission at Rockbottom Dam.

“More than four decades later, we keep a promise to Chief Cox, Captain McGeever and Firefighter Russell who made the ultimate sacrifice not far from where this monument stands — we will never forget,” said Mayor David.

On Sept. 28 and 29, 1975, three Binghamton firefighters died during water rescue operations at the Rockbottom Dam on the Susquehanna River. Fire Chief John Cox, Capt. Donald McGeever and Firefighter John Russell drowned as part of two separate rescue attempts spanning two days at the site.

On Thursday, the City dedicated and opened a black granite monument at South Side Veterans Park on Conklin Ave., which features a reflection bench and etched portraits of the fallen firefighters. The monument cost $36,000 for design, construction and materials, paid for through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, donations from the IAFF Local 729 Binghamton Firefighters Union and Parks Department general funds.

In 2006, City Council passed a resolution authorizing the Mayor to establish a riverside monument for the Rockbottom Dam tragedy. No subsequent actions were taken. In 2015, at the 40th Anniversary remembrance ceremony, Mayor David committed to build a permanent memorial for the lives lost.

In Sept. 2016, the City broke ground on the monument project.

— 30 —