4/17/2013 West, TX a one-story, 12,000-square-foot unprotected wood-frame fertilizer plant (storage and distribution) facility explosion and fire killed fifteen (ten first responders), injured more than 250 and damaged or destroyed more than 500 buildings within a 37-block area with a $100 million loss. There were no automatic detection or suppression systems in the building that contained between 28 to 34 tons of ammonium nitrate in storage bins. The ammonium nitrate detonated approximately 22 minutes after the fire undetermined origin was discovered in the bulk processing plant. The explosion created a crater 90-feet wide and 10 feet deep. “As a result of the massive explosion, the West Fertilizer Company plant was obliterated, and heavy damage and further destruction was caused to surrounding areas. In addition to the obliterated plant, the damaged buildings included the public West Middle School, which sat next to the facility. A neighboring 50-unit, two-story apartment building was destroyed. The blast damaged the nearby West Rest Haven nursing home, and many residents were evacuated. Many of the nursing home residents received cuts from flying glass, but emergency personnel on scene judged that most of these injuries were not life-threatening.”
4/17/1869 a Baltimore, MD firefighter died “while operating at a fire in a three-story brick cooperage shop, a chimney started to fall, pulling the front wall out with it. A second firefighter was warning the men to get out of the building when the collapse occurred. He was caught under the falling debris and became impaled on a spiked iron fence through his back. He was taken to his home, where he died May 4th as a result of injuries sustained. The first firefighter was removed from the debris, dead of a broken neck after being struck by a timber, and another (third) firefighter died of his injuries on April 22nd. A fourth firefighter was seriously injured in the collapse, but eventually recovered. A dozen other firefighters were also injured in the collapse.”
4/17/1888 “five Peoria, IL firefighters were advancing a hoseline into the ruins of the malt house when a huge brick wall crashed down upon them. With brick and mortar piled high above the fallen men, firefighters and officers alike worked frantically to free them. Four of the firefighters eventually recovered from their injuries. One, however, died from a fractured skull. He died from injuries sustained while fighting a fire at the Gus Lisey City Brewery at 705 North Water Street (later the site of PMP fermentation).”
4/17/1913 three Philadelphia, PA firefighters died from injuries they received after a building collapsed at 701 Spring Garden Street.
4/17/1917 three Troy, NY firefighters died “while operating at a two-alarm fire involving a four-story market, they were killed when a tremendous ammonia explosion leveled the building. Nine other firefighters were injured, two seriously.”
4/17/1939 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “lost his life in the basement of S. Kresge Five & Dime store at 6706 to 6710 Bay Parkway. The four-alarm fire also injured seventeen other firefighters in the six-hour battle. He was overcome by the smoke early in the fire and drowned in the water-filled basement. His body was not recovered until the next morning.”
4/17/2008 a Sedalia, MO firefighter “had been at the hospital since April 8. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over half his body while fighting a house fire at 1209 S. Kentucky Ave. He was burned during a flashover. He was wearing fire apparatus that protected his lungs, and he received immediate first aid from his fellow firefighters at the house. He succumbed to his injuries on April 17th.”
4/17/1860 the first municipal law on fire escapes from tenements passed in New York, NY.
4/17/2015 a gas line explosion in Fresno, California injured fourteen behind the Fresno County sheriff’s gun range when a county worker leading a team of jail inmates constructing a dirt road accidentally struck the gas line.
4/17/2009 Holts Summit, MO three children died in house fire.
4/17/1990 a gas explosion on passenger train in Kumrahar India killed eighty.