6/23/1913 the 1st NFPA Committee on Safety to Life was appointed. The Committee studied notable fires involving loss of life analyzing the cause and factors that resulted in the loss of life. “Work led to the preparation of standards for the construction of stairways, fire escapes, and similar structures; for fire drills in various occupancies; and for the construction and arrangement of exit facilities for factories, schools, and other occupancies.” “These studies became the basis for two early NFPA publications, “Outside Stairs for Fire Exits” (1916) and “Safeguarding Factory Workers from Fire” (1918). In 1921 the Committee on Safety to Life expanded their scope and created the “Building Exits Code” in 1927. New editions were published in 1929, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1942 and 1946. After a disastrous series of fires, including the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire in Boston, which claimed the lives of 492 people and the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta which claimed 119 lives, the “Building Exits Code” began to be utilized in legislation. The NFPA decided to re-edit the Code and some revisions appeared in the 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1952 publications. The editions published in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1963 refined the verbiage and presentation even further. In 1955 the NPFA101 was broken into three separate documents, NFPA101B (covering nursing homes) and NFPA101C (covering interior finishes). NFPA101C was revised once in 1956 before both publications were withdrawn and pertinent passages re-incorporated back into the main body. The Committee on Safety to Life was restructured in 1963 and the first publication in 1966 was a complete revision. The title was changed from “Building Exits Code to Code for Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures.” The final revision to all “code language” (legalese) was made and it was decided that the Code would be revised and republished on a three-year schedule. New editions were subsequently published in 1967, 1970, 1973, 1976… and 2018.”
6/23/1904 a Youngstown, Ohio firefighter died from a fall on the fireground. “On arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke issuing from the Youngstown Consolidated Gas and Electric Companies offices at the corner of Boardman and Champion Streets. The fire started in the walls. The smoke was extremely thick, and it took the firefighters several hours to finally find evidence of the fire. Smoke was said to be coming out from between the bricks. As the night progressed and the fire was beginning to get under control, the firefighter decided to take one final check of the building for fire. The power was cut earlier, and the building was dark. He entered the building unaware that the fire had burned a hole in the floor. He was later found in the basement having fallen about 13 feet down, and in two feet of water. He had suffered a broken neck in the fall.”
6/23/1949 Perth Amboy, NJ an asphalt plant explosion and fire killed three, including two firefighters; the “tar-covered bodies of two firefighters could not be recovered for several hours after they were blown into a pit of boiling asphalt.” The first explosion occurred around 2:00 p.m. and fire rapidly spread to adjoining stills and storage tanks.
6/23/1956 an Ashburnham, MA firefighter died “while operating at an extremely smoky three-alarm fire in a furniture factory. He complained of feeling ill and left the building to go get fresh air after taking in a few breaths of the heavy black smoke. After getting into his car, which was just a short distance away, he suddenly collapsed. All efforts to revive him failed, and he was pronounced dead on the front lawn of his own home, just a short distance away from the fire. He had apparently suffered a massive heart attack, which was brought on by exhaustion and smoke inhalation.”
6/23/1961 a Toledo, Ohio firefighter “died as a result of burns suffered at the Anthony Wayne Trail tanker fire, June 10, 1961. As a result of the accident that cost several lives, a bill was passed to prevent tandem trailers from carrying gasoline. As a result of this incident four firefighters would die.”
6/23/1977 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died “while leading his company into a burning two-story discotheque at a two-alarm fire, he was killed when the parapet collapsed, crushing him to death. The roof had been replaced after a prior fire and the roofers failed to re-secure the parapet.”
6/23/1991 a Feds Creek, Kentucky firefighter “died when a roof/ceiling collapsed after an explosion in a hardware store. Six other firefighters were injured with one of those injuries leading to an additional firefighter fatality. A second firefighter would die from his injuries on December 27, 1992.”
6/23/1974 Port Chester, NY a dance hall fire left twenty-four dead and thirty-two injured in the affluent suburbs east of New York at Gulliver’s an “in” discotheque. A few minutes after 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning the leader of a rock-band told about 200 occupants (other estimates ranged up to 700) that there was a “small fire” next door in the adjoining building; smoke had started to seep into Gulliver’s. Most occupants remained in their seats or on the crowded dance floor. Within 3 minutes, witnesses reported, “the place was filled with choking, black smoke and flames began chewing through the wall separating the club and an adjoining men’s clothing store.”
6/23/1938 Hobbs, New Mexico an explosion and fire killed seven when “the premature explosion of a nitroglycerin time bomb with which a drilling crew was preparing to “shoot” an oil well.”
6/23/1917 an ammunition factory in Boleweg Bohemia exploded, killing 1,000.
6/23/1867 Camden, NY conflagration: “The Park Hotel, G. W. Nix & Co.’s corset factory, the Episcopal and Methodist Churches, two or three dwellings, a saloon, law-office, were entirely consumed.”
6/23/1874 Syracuse, NY a church floor collapsed killing five during the strawberry festival.