Happy Independence Day, please be careful with fireworks
7/4/1888 a New Haven, CT firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after he had fallen from a ladder.”
7/4/1891 a San Francisco, CA firefighter “died after suffering a severe skull fracture after having fallen from a ladder while operating at a fire.”
7/4/1918 a Stockton, CA firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after being electrocuted while operating at a fire at Box 176 N.W. corner Post and Octavia, Centenary M. E. Church fire.”
7/4/1924 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died at a working fire in a vacant two-story brick building. “The members of Engine 40 stretched a line into the first floor and were attacking the fire when the roof and side walls suddenly collapsed, burying more than a dozen men. Fellow firefighters went to work with their bare hands digging out their comrades and getting them to the hospital. The injured firefighter was found and rushed to a waiting ambulance but died while in route to the hospital. A dozen others were injured in the collapse, two seriously.”
7/4/1925 a Cincinnati, Ohio firefighter died from injuries at a structure fire.
7/4/1925 a Fairmont, West Virginia firefighter died crushed after collapse.
3/4/1971 a Boston, MA firefighter “died when a building in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery partially collapsed on him, while operating at Box 2593 (Canterbury Street & Mt. Calvary Road). The Fire Commander said the fire was set and termed the death “murder by vandalism”.”
7/4/1987 a Chicago, IL firefighter of Engine 49 died during a late-night still alarm on Chicago’s south side. “A fire had been started in the attic of a two-and-one-half story building at 4306 S. Wood St., when a bottle rocket was set off from an attic window by someone launching fireworks in celebration of Independence Day. When he and two other firefighters entered the smoke-filled attic to extinguish the flames, built up gases ignited in a flashover. All three firefighters were taken to area hospitals with burns and smoke inhalation injuries, and one firefighter was pronounced dead at Cook County Hospital.”
7/4/1996 a Cameron, West Virginia firefighter “and licensed pyrotechnican, was killed at the annual 4th of July Fireworks display that is sponsored by the Cameron Fire Department. A 6-inch round prematurely detonated on the ground causing a piece of metal/wood to strike him in the head. His brother was also injured.”
7/4/1997 a Buffalo, New York firefighter was killed when he became trapped by a roof collapse while fighting a residential structure fire. One other firefighter was injured and suffered second degree burns. The second firefighter was dragged to safety after becoming unconscious. Rescuers did not see the firefighter due to heavy smoke and he was not located until later that afternoon. Fire officials stated that there was a possibility that the fire was started by fireworks. The owner of the house believes that a “rocket” landed on her roof.”
7/4/1998 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighters died from injuries he received “on June 5, 1998 while he and a second firefighter, along with other firefighters, were conducting a search on the second floor of a commercial/residential structure. A civilian fire victim had been reported to be trapped in the area. Without warning, the second floor collapsed into the fire area on the first floor, trapping firefighters in a live fire on the first floor. Two firefighters died and four were seriously injured. The civilian fire victim had escaped through a back entrance. The first firefighter suffered severe burns (70%) and died on July 4, 1998, the cause of death was thermal burns resulting in cardiac arrest. The second firefighter was pronounced dead at the hospital that day after being recovered by other firefighters, the cause of death was crushing trauma and burns resulting in a heart attack.”
7/4/2002 three Mount Ephraim, NJ firefighters died at a structure fire in a residential building at 200 North Broadway. “While units were responding, dispatch advised units of a working fire with people trapped. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a well-involved fire in a 3-story wood-frame structure with fire threatening a connected exposure building of the same size. Heavy smoke was showing from the exposure. Mount Ephraim Fire Department’s rescue company was also dispatched upon the report of a working fire. The amount of fire in the building of origin prohibited an interior attack. The initial arriving officer saw movement in a window on the second floor of the exposure. Firefighters were directed to stretch an attack line into the exposure for search and rescue and fire control. Firefighters found that fire had extended into the second floor of the exposure and conducted suppression efforts but were unable to locate any occupants. Facing heavy fire in the original structure and extension into the exposure, master streams were applied into the original structure. The bulk of the fire was knocked down in the original fire building while crews continued to operate in the exposure. An occupant (mother) was found in the rear portion of the first floor of the exposure by interior crews and was removed from the structure. An interior crew reported a missing firefighter and the structure was evacuated to conduct an accountability of operating personnel. The firefighter was almost immediately accounted for yet there were still three building occupants (children) that had not been located. A crew of eight firefighters entered the front of the exposure structure to conduct a search. At the 30-minute mark since the dispatch of the incident, the interior crews reported that they were leaving the structure due to conditions. Within seconds of these reports, both the original fire-involved structure and the exposure structure experienced a catastrophic collapse. The collapse occurred approximately 34 minutes after the initial alarm of fire. Two firefighters freed themselves after the collapse. Four firefighters were trapped in the collapse. Rescue efforts began immediately and two of the firefighters were freed, with the first taking approximately 25 minutes and the last removed almost 1-½ hours after the collapse. After an extensive recovery and rescue effort, the bodies of three firefighters were found and removed from the rubble. Three children, who resided in the original fire structure, were also killed in the incident. The cause of death for all three firefighters was fixed compression as the result of being crushed by the collapse.”
7/4/2014 fireworks exploded in bedroom Auburndale, FL home that killed 49-year-old woman and her dog. Her son was burned while trying to save his mother. While preparing multiple large fireworks, or mortars, previously placed on a bed, a mortar exploded, setting off other mortars and starting a fire in the bedroom.
7/4/2013 fireworks accident in Simi Valley, CA injured thirty-nine victims, from 17 months to 78 years old, most had burns and shrapnel wounds, and some were trampled. A firework exploded prematurely in a mortar, knocking over others and aiming them across the field at the audience.
7/4/1911 fireworks started a fire that destroyed the town of Princeton, MO.
7/4/1897 Batesville, AR conflagration: “the origin of the fire is not known but is supposed to have been started by the explosion of firecrackers.” The fire started in a residence and destroyed twelve buildings.
7/4/1872 Wurtsboro, NY a fireworks explosion killed one. “While the town was yet all excitement on the tragic death of young Gumaer, a fearful tornado swept over the village…”
7/4/1866 the “Great Fire of Portland, Maine. The first Independence Day after the end of the American Civil War. Five years before the great Chicago Fire, this was the greatest fire yet seen in an American city. It started in a boat house on Commercial Street, likely caused by a firecracker or a cigar ash. The fire spread to a lumber yard and on to a sugar house, then spread across the city, eventually burning out on Munjoy Hill in the city’s east end. Two people died in the fire. Ten thousand people were made homeless and 1,800 buildings were burned to the ground. This included the federal Exchange Building by which was replaced with the Custom House.”
7/4/2013 a fire in a Lancaster (central) PA home killed seven, including four children. The fire started in the kitchen of a three-story duplex at about 3:00 a.m. after frozen potatoes were placed in the oven, fourteen members of several families lived in the home, which did not have smoke alarms.
7/4/2009 Louisville, KY five died, including three children ages 10-month, three, and five years, in a home fire. “Investigators say a smoke alarm that was installed one year ago was not present when they inspected the home.”
7/4/1984 Beverly, MA the Elliott Chambers Rooming House incendiary fire killed fifteen of the thirty-six occupants that started at 4:14 a.m. “The fire chief said the 80-year-old brick and wood structure was “built to burn.”” “Once ignited, the fire spread quickly, involving the 3/16-inch wood paneling interior finish in the stairway and the exit access corridor. Heat and smoke easily penetrated the upper levels of the building through the open stairway. The fire spread rapidly throughout the remainder of the residential floors of the building.”
7/4/1975 Poland Spring, ME Hotel burned to the ground.
7/4/1911 Howe, IN Military Institute Dining Hall was destroyed by fire shortly after noon.
7/4/1910 Duluth, MN the Fruit Company is destroyed by fire.
7/4/1897 Akron OH the Akron Iron and Steel Company’s works was completely destroyed by fire.
7/4/1911 Floydada, TX conflagration: eleven buildings were destroyed by a fire that “started in a pressing and cleaning establishment, where it is believed a gasoline stove was left in such condition that it set fire to the building” around 2:00 a.m.
7/4/1889 Ellensburg, WA conflagration: the entire business portion, over one hundred houses, were consumed.
7/4/1896 the Opera House block was destroyed by fire in Augusta, Maine.
7/4/1879 Amherst, MA an incendiary fire “destroyed the Amherst House, the Post Office, the Savings Bank, town offices, the Public Library, one of the largest livery stables in Western Massachusetts, two college secret society lodge-rooms, and the stores of a number of mercantile firms.”
7/4/1864 Saratoga Springs, NY conflagration: “destroyed all the buildings on Broadway south of Union Hall to the Clarendon Hotel.”
7/4/1453 forty-one Jewish martyrs burned at stake at Breslau.
7/4/1978 Memphis fire fighters halt a three-day strike under a court order.
7/4/1925 Boston, MA the Pickwick Club, a Chinatown resort, at the Dreyfus Hotel dance floor collapsed with 100 dancers on the floor that killed forty-four. “Without warning the fifth floor of the building collapsed, carrying with it the fourth and third floors. The tons of stone, plaster and bricks crashed through to the second floor on the 150 merry makers.”
7/4/1776 John Adams envisioned that this anniversary would forever be “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”