BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore firefighter Racheal Michelle Wilson died in the line of duty during a firefighting training exercise in west Baltimore back in 2007. More than a decade later, the community is remembering her with a new mural.
“She was training to be a firefighter, somebody who was going to protect our homes,” said Jerlene Boyd, a Boyd Booth community leader.
The gaze of firefighter Racheal Wilson now watches over the lot where she died. Family and community members came together Monday to unveil the mural that honors her.
“It’s just something to remember her, she was a very nice person, exceptional person,” said Baltimore City Fire Department Commander Roman Clark.
She died during a live-fire training exercise in a vacant rowhome that used to stand on South Calverton Road in February 2007.
At the time, an independent investigation found that the training exercise violated numerous national safety standards, and several high-ranking fire department officials lost their jobs.
Longtime Boyd-Booth resident Jerlene Boyd came up with the idea to put the mural up in her honor.
“I talked to the community, I talked to the president I told her I can’t go out like that. Something has got to be done on that lot for her,” Boyd said.
Local artist Nether developed the mural with help of Wilson’s children. It features the former firefighter in uniform alongside magnolias, a nod to her southern roots.
“I see my mother and I see where she came from, so putting the flowers up it reminds me so much of Louisiana.” said her daughter, Princess Davis.
In a few months, a playground will be built on this lot as well, also to remember Racheal.
The park and playground is part of Baltimore’s Green Network Plan, which focuses on turning vacant lots into active and inviting green spaces- in honor of her life and legacy.
“It’s all to remember her,” Boyd said.
That playground is expected to be built in June 2020. Wilson’s family received a $200,000 settlement from the city.