CINCINNATI -- Some of the people who watched King Towers apartment complex unveil a memorial plaque in honor of Cincinnati firefighter Daryl Gordon on Monday would not have been at the ceremony -- or anywhere else, for that matter -- if not for his actions three years ago that day.
"That man will always be remembered," resident Ed Greesin said. "I seen him hit the ground running like no other."
Gordon, a 30-year veteran of the fire department whom relatives described as "loving" and "generous," was working to evacuate residents from the burning complex on March 26, 2015, when he stepped into an open elevator shaft and fell five stories to his death.
Some eyewitnesses to the event said the outward-swinging elevator door, which had a broken lock mechanism, was easy to mistake for the door of an apartment. In the aftermath, the apartment complex replaced it and made $2.4 million in additional safety upgrades to the building.
A report by the Cincinnati Fire Department ultimately ruled Gordon’s death accidental but suggested a number of operational improvements that could prevent similar deaths in the future.
Charles Tassell of Wallick-Hendy Properties, which owns the building, said it was important for the property to remember Gordon’s sacrifice and give him the credit he deserved for helping save its residents that night.
"We talk about heroes a lot," Tassell said. "This is what it’s about."