'Ladder 49' screening to benefit fire foundation

Reception, showing Sept. 27 part of series of events honoring city department ahead of film's nationwide release

September 16, 2004|By Kathryn Hansen | Kathryn Hansen,Baltimoresun.com Staff

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and other city officials today announced a schedule of special events leading up to, and including, an advanced screening of the movie Ladder 49, filmed locally.

The drama about firefighters with the Baltimore City Fire Department and their families stars John Travolta as Fire Chief Kennedy and Joaquin Phoenix as young firefighter Jack Morrison. The movie is scheduled to open Oct. 1 at theaters nationwide.

"Ladder 49 is a powerful depiction of the lives of firefighters in Baltimore City and throughout our nation," O'Malley said in a statement. "Our heroes perform extraordinary acts of courage every day on the job, and Ladder 49 reminds us that our heroes are also human."

A reception on Sept. 27 will be followed by the prescreening of the film at 8 p.m. at the Senator Theater. Many of the film's stars -- including Travolta and Phoenix -- are scheduled to attend the event. Tickets are available for $200 per person and all proceeds will benefit the Baltimore City Fire Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

"Baltimore City was proud to be selected as the location for Ladder 49 and honored to host this special screening to benefit the Baltimore City Fire Foundation," O'Malley said.

Added Kevin Plank, chairman of the foundation: "The Baltimore City Fire Foundation was created to keep Baltimore safe from fire, injury and terrorism in ways not possible during these difficult economic times. The events surrounding this week's Ladder 49 screening are an excellent way for the surrounding community to come together, get involved and express their gratitude for the work of these strong, courageous men and women."

Ahead of the screening, the Fire Department will use a weeklong series of events aimed at public education and fire prevention efforts to mark the annual Firefighter-Paramedic Appreciation Day on Sept. 26.

On that day, the department will honor acts of bravery, heroism and dedication with a medals ceremony, where O'Malley and others will present the honorees with their awards. The ceremony is open to the city fire and police departments, staff, family members and friends of recipients.

"The Baltimore City Fire Department was proud to be chosen to represent all fire departments throughout the country," Baltimore Fire Chief William J. Goodwin Jr. said of the movie. "The impact of this production with the participation of our members, in our city, will highlight the superior job that our men and women do every day."

Those involved with the movie and invited guests will also attend a separate screening of the movie on Sept. 28. To purchase tickets for the Sept. 27 Ladder 49 reception and screening at the Senator Theater, call 410-547-8884, ext. 211.

September 16, 2004, 12:20 PM EDT

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