One year ago today on Dec. 23, 2011, Peabody firefighter James Rice paid the ultimate price on the job, and for that he will forever be a hero.
Just two days before Christmas last year, Rice, an 11-year veteran of the Peabody Fire Department, died battling a three-alarm fire at a multi-family home at 5 Hancock St.
He was 42 and left behind his wife Amy and three young children: Alyssa, Katelyn and Ryan.
In the months since Peabody was rocked by the tragedy -- the first time a firefighter was killed like that in the line of duty -- the city has grieved and rallied around his family and fellow firefighters in countless ways.
Rice is remembered as a true hero, both at home and by those who only knew of his story.
Fire Chief Steven Pasdon says that today, Peabody firefighters will gather to remember their fallen brother in a private service.
For the past year, from first tragedy to numerous ways the community has rallied together around in tribute to Jim Rice, Peabody Patch has chronicled it all. You can find our complete coverage of this ongoing story here.