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SCULPTURE WILL BE TRIBUTE TO FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS

Firefighters who have died in the line of duty will be honored with a state memorial, officials said Sunday.

The sculpture, a tribute to paid and volunteer firefighters, will be constructed in the Empire State Plaza here. It will depict an injured firefighter clinging to two colleagues as they pull him through the smoke and flames of a burning building.

The memorial eventually will be expanded to include a series of walls or panels with the names of all New York firefighters who have lost their lives on the job. Some 1,400 names would be included in the display.

"Our state owes a lasting debt of gratitude to firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice while striving to protect the lives, homes and businesses of others," said Gov. Pataki, whose father was a volunteer firefighter.

Robert J. Eccleston of Schuyler Falls was chosen from among several artists to design and construct the memorial. The $300,000 price tag will be paid from state coffers, a Pataki spokesman said Sunday.

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