3/4/1908 the Collinwood School (near Cleveland, Ohio) fire (also known as the Lake View School Fire) occurred on Ash Wednesday and killed 172 students, two teachers and a rescuer. The fire started in the four-story school house built of ordinary construction when a steam pipe overheated a floor joist. The open stairway allowed the fire to rapidly extend, oiled wooden floors contributed to the fire spread. Panic led to the crush of a large number of students in stairwell vestibules. Doors to the building were equipped with common door knob latches, not panic hardware; a misconception is that the doors opened inward, this is not true. “Some crucial circumstances of the tragedy were almost instantly knowable. The masonry exterior of the building acted as a chimney, sucking flames upward as the wooden interior burned; the school had only two exits and fire quickly blocked one of them. … Collinwood’s horse-drawn fire equipment and volunteer fire department were woefully ill-equipped to fight the roaring blaze. It took less than one hour for the three-floor school to burn to the point of collapsing into the basement, killing all those inside.”
3/4/1949 a fire in the Woolworth Building left seven firefighter dead in Charleston, WV. The fire started in the department store’s basement. One team of firefighters went to the first floor with hoses, while another squad was making their way down a back staircase. “The first floor gave way, sending firefighters crashing down into the burning debris of the basement. Witnesses say men were buried up to their armpits in fiery merchandise, stock, and building debris. Two firefighters managed to escape out of the basement. By noon, the fire was finally under control, and exhausted firefighters were said to have wept as the bodies of fallen comrades were removed from the rubble. In addition to the damage suffered by Woolworth’s, the roof of the adjoining Kresge store burned and partially collapsed. The Fleetwood Hotel, located next to the Kresge, and the Charleston National Bank Building, suffered water and smoke damage. Total damages were estimated at close to $1 million.”
3/4/1901 a Gas City, IN firefighter was injured “while fighting a fire in a commercial building on March 2, 1901, when a brick wall collapsed. He died two days later on March 4, 1901.”
3/4/1917 five Detroit, MI firefighters lost their lives and three others were seriously injured at a fire in the Field’s Suite and Cloak Company when the floors of the five-story building collapsed. “The building was located in the at center of the downtown business district at 187 Woodward Avenue. The fire was reported around 2:00 a.m. About a half an hour into fighting the fire the 3 lower floors of the 5-story building collapsed without warning. They carried twenty firefighters down in the wreckage. Two firefighters were also thrown from a ladder to the sidewalk from the 3rd-story. The fire also consumed the top floor of the R. H. Fyfe Shoe Company building to the south. Monetary loss from fire and water damage was estimated at $500,000.” “A few weeks after the fire a coroner’s inquest was convened. Architect Adolph Eisen testified that the joists of the third and fourth floors were made of soft pine and were not strong enough to hold the floors. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Fields Company also testified that the third floor of the building had sagged about an inch, but no one paid attention to it. He also testified that the building inspector had never inspected the building.”
3/4/1942 a Hartford, CT firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained while operating at Box 715.”
3/4/1977 a Fitchburg, MA “firefighter was killed, and several others were injured, when a backdraft blew out the entire front wall of an occupied four-story frame tenement. He was killed when a 14-inch double steel I- Beam struck him. Another firefighter was permanently disabled.”
3/4/1977 a Baltimore, MD firefighter was killed while operating “a hoseline in the garage door opening of a fiberglass factory, a section of the front cinder block wall collapsed, crushing him to death.”
3/4/1977 a Little Rock, AR firefighter “suffered a fatal heart attack in the hospital as a result of complications that set in from the scalding burns he sustained while operating at a four alarm furniture store fire on February 26th.”
3/4/1985 a Belmont, MA firefighter died at a one-alarm fire in a house at 73 Scott Road. When they arrived, they found a fire in the basement. Firefighters entered under heavy smoke and began tearing open the walls to stop the spread of the flames. While fighting back the fire, he collapsed.
3/4/2000 a Frase, MI firefighter died of smoke inhalation while attempting to rescue an elderly woman from an apartment building fire set by an arsonist.
3/4/2008 a Town of Val des Monts, Quebec, Canada firefighter while operating at a “house fire in Varennes. The fire began on the 2nd floor, the firefighter was on the first floor when the debris fell. It took almost 45 min to get his body free.”
3/4/2012 a Colby, Wisconsin firefighter was killed, and four other firefighters were also injured by the roof collapsing at the Abby Theatre in Abbotsford, WI.
3/4/1909 a defective flue pipe in a school results in a fire that guts the west wing in Allentown, PA.
3/4/1991 an accidental fire the Crystal Springs Estate, a board and care facility, in Colorado Springs, Colorado killed nine, injured eight of the twenty-five and elderly residents, and injured five fire fighters in the single-story masonry and wood structure, with two separate partial basements. The building was divided into three fire compartments by noncombustible walls with fire doors in the corridor. A fire alarm system with heat detectors in all rooms, closets, and attic spaces; manual pull stations and smoke detectors were located next to the fire doors. The fire started in the attic from an electric motor in the east wing. Approximately 12:35 a.m. the ceiling collapsed in a residents’ lounge, smoke entering the occupied space activating the smoke detection system. The fire breached a wall between the wing of origin and a dining room and spreading across the combustible ceiling. Firefighters found the dining room heavily involved with fire and smoke in corridors of both wings. The fire destroyed two of the three wings in the building.
3/4/2012 one person was killed, and six others injured in a fire at a meth lab housed inside a nursing home in Ashtabula, Ohio at the Park Haven Nursing Home.
3/4/2007 a suspicious fire that started around 2:30 a.m. in a small trailer on lot 18 of Cleve’s Trailer Park, 713 Second Ave Immokalee, FL killed five of the ten residents.
3/4/2001 a massive car bomb explosion in front of the BBC Television Centre in London seriously injured eleven; attributed to the Real IRA.
3/4/1965 Natchitoches, LA a natural gas pipeline explosion in a residential area killed seventeen, including nine children.
3/4/1942 Burlington, Iowa Arms (Iowa Ordnance) Plant explosion killed sixteen and injured forty-two shortly before midnight that demolished a three-story brick and steel building.
3/4/1916 a 300-foot barge filled with 15,000 gallons of gasoline caught fire while moored to the Standard Oil Company pier in New York City, NY on West 48th Street. The FDNY Battalion Chief ordered the fireboat James Duane and Willard to tow the burning barge out into the river hoping to avoid a major explosion. As they reached 70th Street the stored gasoline the barrels began to explode. The fireboats were ordered to drop their lines. The barge drifted south and ran aground near Weehawken with flames leaping over 100 feet into the air.
3/4/1911 Center, TX the Mistrot Brothers store fire killed six shortly after midnight. The victims were carrying goods out of the burning store when the roof collapsed.
3/4/1904 Danville, VA the Holland Building on Main Street was destroyed by fire that damages four adjacent buildings.
3/4/1904 a building of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA was destroyed by fire.
3/4/1897 Boston, MA six were killed and scores more injured, ten severely hurt, in an illuminating (natural) gas explosion in the subway at the intersection of Tremont and Boylston Streets.
3/4/1881 the Almy Mine explosion near Evanston, WY killed thirty-seven at 8:45 p.m.
3/4/1944 five crewmen were killed in a collision of two Chesapeake & Ohio Railway freight trains near Manassas, VA.