Rafael Rivera Esbrí
Rafael Rivera Esbrí
Mayor Rafael Rivera Esbrí
|113th Mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico|
2 January 1915 – 2 January 1917
|Preceded by||Simón Moret Gallart|
|Succeeded by||Luis Yordán Dávila|
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Rivera Esbri is best remembered for an incident that has little to do with his work as mayor. He is remembered as the only civilian who in the company of seven of Ponce's firefighters confronted and brought under control the fire of 25 January 1899 that took place at the American munitions depot in the city of Ponce, located where the Ponce High School is currently located. Rivera Esbri and the others did this in defiance of an order from the American invaders not to attempt to fight the fire. Their bravery is said to have saved the city from total destruction.
In 1906, the Legislature of Puerto Rico issued a proclamation to officially declare Rafael Rivera Esbri and the seven firefighters heroes. In time, the city of Ponce also built an obelisk to their memory which is located at Plaza Las Delicias (See Monumento a los heroes de El Polvorin), and is dedicated to Rivera Esbri and the seven firefighters who risked their lives in the 25 January 1899, fire. Rivera Esbri's name, along with those of the firefighters are engraved on the obelisk.
Death and burial
Upon his death, Rafael Rivera Esbri was buried at the mausoleum reserved for Ponce firefighters in the Monumento a los heroes de El Polvorín at Cementerio Civil de Ponce. He is the only civilian non-firefighter in the mausoleum.
In Ponce there is a street in Urbanizacion Las Delciias of Barrio Magueyes named after him.
- Comentario del libro "El Rostro Oculto de la Desobediencia Civil", by José Enrique Ayoroa Santaliz Archived 20 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Album Histórico de Ponce", by Ruth Fortuño Sellés
- Pergamino Continua Desaparecido. Archived 21 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Obelisk to the Heroes Archived 21 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Coto Laurel Cemetery Archived 21 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- Conmemoran 113 aniversario del Fuego del Polvorín en Ponce: Los “Héroes del Polvorín” son: Rafael Rivera Esbri, Juan Romero, Rafael del Valle y Valle, Cayetano Casals, Pedro Sabater, Gregorio Rivera, Pedro Ruiz y Tomás Rivera. Primera Hora. 27 January 2012. Accessed 4 September 2018.
Simón Moret Gallart
| Mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico
Luis Yordán Dávila