6/18/2007 Charleston, SC nine firefighters were killed when the roof collapsed during a fire in a furniture warehouse. Firefighters went into the building believing it could be kept under control. One employee made it out and a second was rescued, when the roof collapsed hurling debris over at least two dozen firefighters. The fire started on the loading dock outside the warehouse and spread into the building around 7:00 p.m. and extended into the structure. “The fire occurred at the Sofa Super Store, which was composed of a 42,000 ft single-story steel trussed showroom building with a 17,000 ft warehouse building located behind the retail space, located at 1807 Savannah Highway in the West Ashley area of Charleston. The building had no fire sprinkler system. The fire started at approximately 7:00 p.m. in a covered loading dock area built between the showroom and warehouse buildings which was attached to both buildings. At the time, the business was still open, and employees were present. Charleston firefighters arrived on the scene just three minutes after the alarm, followed soon after by firefighters from the St. Andrews Public Service District. The initial attack focused on extinguishing the fire in the loading dock area, with a secondary effort to search for and evacuate civilians, and to prevent the fire from spreading to the showroom and warehouse. Crews entering the showroom reportedly initially encountered clear visibility with only very light puffs of smoke visible near the ceiling at the back of the showroom. Shortly thereafter, an exterior door was opened near where the fire was raging. Efforts to close the door failed, allowing the fire to enter the showroom. Firefighters were ordered to stretch two hose lines into the showroom to attack the spreading fire, however the pre-connected hose line from one of the units was too short, requiring some firefighters to again exit the building to add additional sections of hose and leaving only one small handline to hold back the growing fire. At about this time, fire dispatchers advised the crews on-scene that they had received a 9-1-1 call from an employee who was trapped in the warehouse, which required some firefighters to direct their attention to the rescue. The trapped employee was eventually rescued by firefighters who breached an exterior wall to reach him. Despite efforts to confine and extinguish the fire, it continued to spread into the structure and ignited furniture in the showroom, growing more quickly than the few operating hose lines could control before additional water could be applied to the fire; however, efforts to stretch and begin operating additional hose lines continued. At 7:41 p.m. the showroom area of the store experienced a flashover while at least sixteen firefighters were still working inside. The flashover contributed to the rapid deterioration of the structural integrity of the building, leading to a near-complete collapse of the roof just minutes later. Many of the firefighters caught in the flashover were unable to escape and were trapped under the collapsed roof and shelving weakened by the fast-spreading fire. Several calls for help were made by trapped firefighters and efforts to rescue them were commenced. These efforts proved unsuccessful. By the time the fire was brought under control, nine Charleston firefighters had been killed.”
6/18/1899 a Denver, Colorado firefighter succumbed to injuries on 7/20/1899 he sustained while operating at the Western Chemical Company fire on June 18, 1899, at South Seventh and Bayaud. “The fire started just before 6:00 p.m., billowing thick brown smoke from a storeroom. The storeroom contained about 50 carboys of muriatic acid, two of which had already exploded. The Assistant Chief stated, “We went into the room with a hose from the chemical tank of Truck 3 and soon had the fire out”. Five firefighters were taken ill by the muriatic acid fumes. Doctors treated one firefighter with injections of nitro-glycerin and whisky as well as oxygen. He died as a result of exposure to the fumes and pneumonia.
6/18/1899 an Omaha, NE firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained when a keg of gunpowder exploded as he was attempting to move it from the fire he was operating, at the Allen Brothers Wholesale Grocer, at 902-14 Jones Street.”
6/18/1922 a Queens, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died as a result of injuries he sustained on June 15th, when he and another fireman were caught under a collapsing chimney while operating at an eight-alarm fire. The other firefighter died that day as a result of injuries sustained.”
6/18/1964 a Duluth, MN firefighter died after he arrived at a fire in an occupied duplex dwelling. “Firefighters were told of a child that was trapped in the burning building. He was one of the men who entered the structure to search for the missing child. The three-month-old infant was found and rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival of smoke inhalation. While directing the firefighting operations, the firefighter suddenly collapsed in full arrest. Attempts to revive him were made immediately and he was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival due to smoke inhalation.”
6/18/1968 Kostinbrod Chemical Works fire killed ten near Sofia, Bulgaria.
6/18/1958 Burlington, IA a shell-loading line facility explosion killed four at the Iowa Ordnance Plant.
6/18/1922 Minneapolis, MN Lafayette Club fire left two dead.
6/18/1921 Casper, WY several oil tanks caught fire after a lightning strike, 445,000 barrels of crude and fuel oil burned.
6/18/1912 Gardiner, ME the Oakland Manufacturing Mill fire.
6/18/1909 Wolcott, VT Wolcott House Hotel fire extends to several buildings in town.
6/18/1895 Tottenham, ON eighty houses were destroyed by fire that started in a foundry and was fanned by a strong wind.
6/18/1888 Danbury, CT conflagration started in the business section of the town around 3:00 p.m.