Helping to ensure the safety of our city is a job we take seriously at the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. On May 30 the dangerous work that we do claimed the lives of firefighters Anthony S. Phillips and Louis J. Matthews [front page, June 1].

We knew that every member in this department would be deeply affected by this horrendous loss. What we did not anticipate was the overwhelming support from the citizens of the District and from our fellow emergency personnel from across the nation [Metro, June 5 and June 6]. Their support helped to sustain us during six of the most difficult days that this department has had to endure in a long time.

We appreciate every telephone call and sympathy card we received. The kind words of support and the lining of the streets during the funeral processions were touching illustrations that the community cares as much as we do. For this, I say thank you.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers, for our healing is not yet complete. Firefighter Joseph Morgan is still in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center. He is in need of prayers as well as donations of blood for his many skin graft surgeries that are yet to come.

DONALD EDWARDS

Chief, D.C. Fire

And Emergency Medical Services Department

Washington