3/8/1915 FDNY Rescue Company 1 was placed in service, “at 8:00 a.m. Captain John McElligott picked up the phone at the housewatch desk of the Great Jones Street firehouse and told the dispatcher that Rescue Company 1 was in service. After the difficult and deadly subway fire in January of 1915 the FDNY began to organize a specialized company designed to overcome some of the lingering problems “modern” firefighting. Chief John Kenlon and his staff handpicked the members of the new unit. The new rescue men consisted of a captain, lieutenant and eight firefighters. They started their intensive training on January 19, 1915. The specialized instruction covered operation of the unique tools the company would be assigned, use and maintenance of the Draeger smoke helmets, use of cutting torches and advanced first-aid. The shop hurried to complete the rebuilding of the company’s new apparatus, a 1914 Cadillac touring car. Rather small by today’s standards the right hand steering rig had a huge bell mounted on the center of the dashboard, there was no electrical siren. A spare tire was mounted on the driver’s side running board. The shop’s bodywork included two bench seats facing each other with storage space beneath them and a center storage compartment. While this was not a tremendous amount of storage space, it was adequate for the time. The list of tools the company started with included Draeger smoke helmets (six were carried on the rig), gas masks, life lines, a Lyle gun (rope rifle), rubber gloves, wading pants, forcible entry tools, five hydraulic jacks: 15-10-5 tons, oxygen tanks, two pulmotors (resuscitators), cutting torches, 150-feet signal line, various blocks, wedges, stretchers, fire-extinguishers, axes, first aid kit, rivet cutters, towing cables, claw tools, a telephone set (for the smoke helmets), and an extensive tool kit. This was the “state-of-the-art gear” in 1915. This sturdy little vehicle would remain in-service until 1921.”
3/8/1827 two Manhattan, New York firefighters died “while operating at a fire involving a store. Firefighters had raised a ladder so that a hoseline could be operated into the windows. As heavy fire and smoke poured from the upper floors, the top of the building was obscured. Without warning, the cornice crashed down onto three men who were manning a line on the ladder. The ladder and the three firefighters were smashed and crushed to the street as the cornice fell upon them. Other firefighters ran to their aid and quickly removed them from the fiery debris. It was discovered that two of the men were critically injured and that the third man had escaped with minor injuries.”
3/8/1885 a Boston, MA firefighter “was struck on the head by a falling ladder, killing him instantly, while working at Box 47 (Fort Hill Square) for a fire at 48 India Square at 7:02 p.m. Members of Ladder Co. 1 and Ladder Co. 8 were raising the large ladder when they slipped on ice.”
3/8/1904 “While no firefighters were killed during the Great Baltimore Fire of February 7, 1904, several dies in the weeks and months that followed having been injured or having contracted pneumonia as a result of the historic blaze. One firefighter died from pneumonia on March 8th.”
7/8/1907 a Philadelphia, PA firefighter “died as a result of injuries sustained March 6th, when he was caught under a collapsing wall while operating at a three-alarm fire involving three, six-story factories at 823-825 Filbert Street. Two other firefighters were also critically injured, one dying March 7th, and the other dying December 19th, both as a result of injuries sustained in the collapse.”
3/8/1938 the five-story 300-room North End Hotel in Ocean Grove, NJ was destroyed by fire; eleven firefighters were injured.
3/8/1952 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died while directing operations at a fire, after being seriously overcome by smoke.
3/8/1969 a Maryland City, Anne Arundel County, MD firefighter “tripped over a supply line while hooking up to a fire hydrant at a dwelling fire in Prince George’s County. He was transported to the hospital, where he was treated for an ankle injury and chest pain. He was released and later died at his residence. The cause of death was listed as a ruptured aorta.”
3/8/1974 a Buffalo, NY firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after being caught in a building collapse at a 4-alarm fire at 34 Prospect Avenue. Firefighters were quickly able to rescue him, but he died in route to the hospital.”
3/8/1989 “three Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma firefighters were engulfed in a fireball after gases built up inside a one-story house at 2421 SW 30. They were unaware that the house had been remodeled. One firefighter died at the scene, a second died the 9th and third died on April 3rd. During the incident, flashover indicators were present, with high levels of heat and heavy smoke being reported by first-in companies. However, the fire gave a false indication that it had vented itself through the roof. Unknown at the time to the fire crew operating inside was that the house had two additions. The fire they saw outside the structure was between an existing roof and one of the two added-on roof coverings.”
3/8/1991 a Caruthersville, Missouri firefighter died, and another firefighter injured while they were directing water onto the drive-in window on the north side of the building on fire. Bystanders yelled that the wall was cracking as bricks struck the firefighter’s helmet, knocking it off, and other bricks fell burying him in debris. Rescuers immediately removed him from the pile within 1 to 3 minutes. He suffered severe internal and head injuries.
3/8/1995 a Mission, Kansas firefighter “died when he became trapped in the basement of a house fire and ran out of air. He was part of the initial entry crew attempting to locate the seat of the fire when the floor collapsed beneath him. Heavy smoke and fire conditions prevented other firefighters from rescuing him. The fire originated in the basement of the house.”
3/8/1998 a Los Angeles (City), CA firefighter died while fighting a structure fire at the Pacific Bird Supply Company at 5972 Western Avenue. He was part of a team assigned to backup interior crews. When fire conditions worsened, all firefighters exited the building with the exception of one firefighter who had somehow been separated from his crew. Shortly after firefighters left the building, a partial roof collapse occurred. When it was determined that he was missing, a rapid intervention crew forced entry in the rear of the structure and he was removed. He was burned over 95% of his body. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation and burns. The fire was accidental and started as a grease fire in a convection oven.”
3/8/2000 two Memphis, TN firefighters died while fighting a house fire. “Engine 55, a four-person engine company, responded to the report of a residential structure fire along with other units. Engine 55 was the first unit on the scene and reported a working house fire. As he stepped from the apparatus to perform a size-up of the fire and he was immediately shot by a gunman who had been hiding in the garage of the house. The gunman continued to fire, striking the second firefighter as he sat in the back of the pumper preparing his protective equipment. The driver of Engine 55 moved the apparatus forward out of the danger zone. The fourth member of the crew jumped onto the running board as the apparatus was moved to safety. As the gunman engaged and killed a deputy sheriff, firefighters moved the first firefighter to a safe area and began treatment. However, he was pronounced dead at the scene and the other firefighter died in an ambulance in route to the hospital. Both were killed by shotgun blasts to the head. Firefighters extinguished the fire in the house and discovered the body of the gunman’s wife.”
3/8/2017 a fire fueled by high winds tore through a Detroit, MI apartment complex in the afternoon that killed five people and injured four more in a two-story, orange brick apartment building in the 10500 block of Whittier, near I-94 and Cadieux. Wind gusts topped more than 60 m.p.h. hampering firefighters.
3/8/2017 a fire in the Virgen de la Asunción home for children in Guatemala City claimed the lives of at least twenty-one and forty young people injured. “The 750 residents crammed into the aging structures were nearly all victims of abandonment and abuse and had been removed from families by the authorities for their own safety. But they found little respite at the state home, members of the staff sexually abused residents, prompting criminal cases and a series of complaints. The country’s human rights commission had requested a judicial order to close the facility a month before the fire. Two of the home’s seven buildings were destroyed by the blaze, which reports suggest may have been caused by a resident who set her mattress on fire.”
3/8/1973 the Whiskey Au Go Go was firebombed in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Australia on the corner of Amelia Street and St Paul’s Terrace resulted in the deaths of fifteen at 2:10 a.m. Two 6-gallon drums of diesel fuel were thrown into the foyer and ignited by a lit torch thrown through the open door; large quantities of grease were smeared over the stairs and door of the building’s rear fire escape.
3/8/1924 a dust explosion in Castle Gate, UT followed by a fire in a coal mine trapped and killed 173.
3/8/1919 Portland (ME) the annex and top floor of the Press Newspaper was destroyed by fire. “The fire started in the rear of the annex on the fourth floor, occupied as a shirtwaist factory.”
3/8/1909 a tornado touches down that was followed by a fire that destroyed the business district of Brinkley AR and left eight dead.
3/8/1908 Bay City, TX conflagration; a fire was discovered in the row of frame buildings on the west side of the square about 5:00 a.m. and spread rapidly
3/8/1903 Rockland, ME conflagration; “started in the Welt Shipyard, where a large five-masted schooner for the Palmer fleet was being constructed, and, getting beyond the control of the local department, started on a destructive sweep through the town.”
3/8/1898 Hartford, CT eight persons were severely burned at the Germania Hall on the corner of Main and Morgan Streets after apparently “two electric wires becoming crossed under the stage” and started a fire as they were preparing to open for a masquerade ball.
3/8/1888 Springfield, MA Daily Union (newspaper) building was destroyed by fire that killed seven. “The newly-constructed top story was all of pine, painted, and the soft wood partitions aided in quickly spreading the flames to all parts of the editorial rooms.”
3/8/1883 Mineola, TX conflagration started around 3:20 a.m.