11/9/1872 eleven firefighters died during the Boston (MA) Conflagration that burned for 15 hours destroying around 800 buildings, more than 65 acres, from the Common, north from Summer Street to the waterfront. The fire began in a basement of a five-story dry goods store just after 7:00 p.m. A lack of water pressure prevented firefighters from controlling the inferno, explosives were used to blow up buildings to keep the fire from spreading; however, the fire destroyed 1,000 businesses and reduced 65 acres to ruins. The total number of buildings that fell victim to the flames was 776, of which 709 were of brick, granite, or stone, and 67 of wood. The value of all property destroyed was $75,000,000 [about $3.5 billion current dollars]… “By November 4th, all 93 of Boston’s fire horses were stricken with the equine illness, epizootic, which is like distemper in dogs. This meant that the heavy steamers, some weighing at least three tons each, had to be pulled by hand. In an effort to overcome this problem, the city recruited 500 extra men to pull the apparatus. The sounding of the alarm was delayed due to the fact that only police officers had the keys for the fire alarm boxes. Two fire companies started out on their own when they saw the heavy smoke on November 9th. When Box 52 rang in, one fire company’s horses had recovered, and the single steamer was pulled to the fire by its own horses. Four other fire companies borrowed horses, but they weren’t strong enough to pull the heavy engines without stopping to rest along the way. The remaining 16 steamers, as well as hose carts and ladder trucks, had to be pulled by hand to the fire. By the time the exhausted firefighters reached the scene of the fire, it was totally out of control and beyond the capabilities of the Boston FD. The Fire Chief put out a call for help to every city and town within 50 miles of Boston. The fire started in a six-story granite, multiple commercial occupancy, and 18 hours later, 930 buildings were destroyed over 65 acres, leaving 20,000 people jobless and 1,000 homeless. Property damage was estimated at $85 million. A total of 45 engines, 52 hose wagons, 3 trucks, and 1,689 men responded to the fire on mutual aid from 30 municipalities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. A total of 14 people, including nine firefighters from six different departments, were killed in the conflagration, and another 17 firefighters were injured, 12 seriously.”
11/9/1919 a Chicago, IL firefighter died “while operating at a four-alarm fire in a four-story brick rag warehouse, he was killed, and eight other firefighters were injured when the two top floors collapsed while they were working on the second floor of the building. He was pinned by two large beams, and crushed to death when a rag press fell on him.”
11/9/1959 a Houston, TX firefighter died at “the Amoco Virginia, a 150,000-gallon tanker, the pride of Amoco’s fleet, while loading gasoline at Hess Terminal located on the Houston Ship Channel. A worker who was loading the ship did not realize that there was a hole in the rubber loading hose which was leaking gasoline over the deck of the ship and into the water below. The volatile fuel was ignited by a lighted lantern on the bow of a passing tugboat and the ensuing fire traveled back to the deck of the Amoco Virginia. When the fire reached the ship, it followed the path of the leaking gasoline into its hold were a massive explosion followed, ripping a large hole in the deck. After about 16 hours, 500 firefighters finally took control of and extinguished the blazing inferno. Seven men who were on the ship when it exploded perished and about 40 workers, including firefighters, were injured. During the clean-up phase of the fire, a firefighter drowned by falling into a ship’s hold that was filled with gasoline. Even though he had been a diver in the U.S. Navy, he had no chance of swimming in the non-buoyant liquid.”
11/9/1978 a Bridgeport, CT firefighter “died after being electrocuted while operating at a fire.”
11/9/1995 a firefighter and two other men died at the Reynolds Metal Company in McCook, Illinois. Around 7:45 a.m. construction workers were laying the foundation for a new casting furnace when one of the construction workers fell into an excavation pit. A second contractor climbed into the pit to help his colleague, and both were overcome by fumes. During rescue operations a firefighter descended into the pit and collapsed, overcome by Argon gas. All three men died from their injuries.
11/9/1919 Chicago, IL while operating in a four-story brick rag warehouse, a firefighter was killed, pinned by two large beams and crushed to death when a rag press fell on him; and eight other firefighters were injured, when the two top floors collapsed while they were working on the second floor of the building.
11/9/2010 about 55 miles north of Anchorage, AK four people were killed in a home fire just before 6:00 a.m.
11/9/1957 Niagara Falls, NY an apartment fire killed thirteen children and four adults in a three-story frame structure; “known as the Moonglow Hotel but used as a permanent residence.” “Flames surging through stairways and halls trapped many in their bedrooms.”
11/9/1896 Plymouth, IN a flour mill was destroyed by fire. “The mill was the first built in northern Indiana, and was long known as the Plymouth water mill.”
11/9/1888 Cherokee & Pittsburg Coal & Mining Company explosion near Pittsburg KS killed forty-four.
11/9/1888 Rochester, NY a steam gauge and lantern works was destroyed by fire around 7:30 p.m. “The death list will in all probability be over 30, and may reach 40. One firefighter was seriously hurt. The cause of the fire is so far undiscovered. There was a quantity of waste and other inflammable material in the (eight-story) building and the theory of spontaneous combustion is a probable one.”
11/9/1881 a fire in the Texas State Capitol shortly before noon, while the wind blew out of the north and a light rain fell from a during a norther, dropping the temperature, started in the Attorney General’s office on the first floor. “Low water pressure at the nearest hydrant, which was not all that close because the two previous sessions of the Legislature had not seen fit to appropriate money for fire hydrants on the Capitol grounds, prevented the firefighters from putting much more than a light mist on the blaze. In two hours, only a blackened limestone shell remained.”
11/9/2013 James C. “Robbie” Robertson, passed away in Virginia at age 84.