7/5/1973 the Doxol Gas Company fire (BLEVE*) killed twelve firefighters in Kingman, AZ when a rail-car that carried 33,000 gallons of propane gas exploded. A rail-tank car, #38214, had arrived on a spur that the Williams Energy Company leased from the Santa Fe Railroad and sat in the sun for several days. The propane was to be transferred to storage tanks 75 yards away at the Doxol Gas Western Energy Company bulk plant (2512 East Highway 66), in the Hilltop business district on Kingman’s southeast side. Around 1:30 p.m. two employees began opening the valves to transfer the gas into smaller storage tanks with the outside temperature at 105°F. A leak in one of the fittings was detected; an attempt was made to correct it by striking the fitting with a large wrench that ignited the gas creating “a huge blowtorch enveloping the two men” as flames shot 80 feet into the air. At 1:51 p.m. Kingman Volunteer Fire Department responded and began “spraying the car with water,” hoping to cool the tank. “Sounding like the thunderous roar of a jet airliner taking off, the tank car quieted for a second, sucked that huge column of flames down into it, swelled up and popped like a giant champagne cork.” “The tank car exploded before the heavy hose stream could be put on it to keep it cooled below the 900 degrees exploding point.” [*A BLEVE: (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion) is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point.]
7/5/1950 a firefighter and three soldiers died while fighting a wildland fire near San Luis Obispo, California. “The four men were entrapped, burned over and died on the forest fire in the Las Pilitas area east of Santa Margarita, and 12 to 15 mi northeast of San Luis Obispo. When the bodies were discovered at 2:30 p.m. they were burned beyond recognition. The Las Pilitas Fire, burning fiercely on state forest land. The three soldiers were part of the 150-man contingent from the 60th Anti-Aircraft Battalion at Fort Ord, CA. The soldiers were sent to the area on July 5, 1950 in support of state firefighters. The fallen, “a part of a crew building a fire line near the main blaze, were trapped when dry brush flared up behind them. Some of the crew managed to dash to safety through the roaring blaze but the four didn’t make it.””
7/5/1832 a Manhattan, NY firefighter was killed while operating at a fire on Elm Street, as a result of a falling chimney.
7/5/1854 a Philadelphia, PA firefighter “was killed while operating at a fire, which started in an amphitheater and went on to destroy several blocks.”
7/5/1880 a San Francisco, CA firefighter died from injuries he received on July 4th after a fire had broken out in a large stable at the corner of Turk and Larkin Streets. “After arrival, men were ordered to the top of the roof of the stable, when the outer wall collapsed. Six firefighters had been caught in the collapse. All were able to make it out, except one. He had been wedged between two burning bales of hay. He had been badly burned over his entire body, and died from those injuries.”
7/5/1903 an Oakland, CA firefighter died while “operating at a fire at the Arcata Lodging House, a three-story building located at 32 San Pablo Avenue, opposite the city hall. He and two other firefighters were in the Arcata when it collapsed on them, burying then beneath a mass of flaming debris. All three firefighters were pulled from the debris. The two other firefighters were seriously injured and later taken to a hospital to be treated, and the third firefighter died from his injuries before he could be rescued.”
7/5/1904 a Memphis, TN firefighter died “while operating at a fire in a grain company, he was critically injured when he fell down an elevator shaft from the third floor to the basement. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died several hours later as a result of shock.”
7/5/1931 a Washington DC firefighter “was killed as a result of a roof collapse during a church fire at 2564 Nicholas Ave SE (now MLK Ave). He was crushed to death under a falling chimney when the roof collapsed.”
7/5/1941 a Manhattan, NY (FDNY) firefighter died while working a fire at Box # 66-33-71, 200 Broadway. “Upon arrival, firefighters found thick smoke puffing from the front door of the six-story brick commercial building. The first floor was occupied by a sporting goods store and a drug firm, but the upper floors were unoccupied. As members were stretching lines in the front door and venting the roof of the building, an explosion occurred. Heavy heat and smoke blew out the front plate glass windows sending merchandise flying out into the street. The two companies of men who were working the lines in the doorway were flattened and stunned. As firefighters went to the aid of their fallen comrades, a second, and more violent explosion occurred, this time shooting a blistering tongue of flame out the front door and windows, scorching two firefighters who were setting up Water Tower 1 in the middle of Broadway. The force of the blast hurled 23 men across the street, into another building, severely injuring many of them. In the later stages of the fire, as firefighters started interior operations, a firefighter was killed when he fell through a hole on the fourth floor. His body was found lying in debris on the first floor of the building several hours later.”
7/5/1943 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died “and two other firefighters were overcome by smoke at an old law tenement at 435 Court St on July 3rd. They were all taken to Holy Name Hospital, where hours later one died of smoke inhalation. The other two firefighters were treated and released.”
7/5/1955 a Boston, MA firefighter “died while fighting a working fire in the attic of a house at 9 Thane Street, Dorchester, on a very hot, humid day. Box 3343, (School & Harvard Streets.) was transmitted at 2:35 p.m.
7/5/1970 a Los Angeles, California firefighter died of injuries suffered when Snorkel 3 overturned at fire at the Lankershim Hotel 710 South Broadway, near 7th Street. “On arrival at an alarm for smoke coming from the eighth-floor windows of a hotel, three firefighters climbed into the bucket of Snorkel 3’s 85-foot snorkel, and proceeded to elevate the platform. As the booms were being extended, the apparatus suddenly toppled over on its right side. All three members were dropped 50 feet to the street, suffering multiple fractures and serious injuries. After being rushed to the hospital, he died as a result of injuries sustained. It was later determined that the right ground jacks had failed, causing the rig to topple over; however, it could not be determined if they were or weren’t fully extended and locked. One injured firefighter never fully recovered from his injuries. The apparatus was disassembled in the street where it lay and sold for scrap. A second similar unit was taken out of service and sold.”
7/5/2002 an Anamoose, ND firefighter died while he and “members of his department were providing the fireworks display for their community centennial celebration. He was assigned to load and ignite two 5-inch fireworks mortars. Approximately 40 minutes into the show, near the end of the show, witnesses heard the firefighter yell and saw him run towards one of the brush trucks that was standing by at the launch location. The firefighter appeared to be covered with sparks and was attempting to brush something from his clothing. Seconds later a shell, presumably under his left arm, exploded and the firefighter fell to the ground. Other firefighters rushed to his aid and an ambulance was called. CPR was started by EMTs that were on the scene. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead several hours later. The cause of death was listed as blunt force injuries to the chest and left upper extremity.”
7/5/2008 a Teague, TX firefighter died while working a commercial building fire. “He and the members of the fire department were dispatched to a report of a structure fire in a commercial occupancy. He responded to the scene in a tanker (tender) apparatus from the scene of a wildland fire where he had been working. He arrived approximately 10 minutes after dispatch and found a working fire in an automotive repair and upholstery shop. The involved structure was a wood-frame building with metal siding and roof. The building measured approximately 40 feet by 140 feet. The south, front end of the building had a brick facade that rose to a peak at the roof to a height of 20 feet. The firefighter was operating a nozzle at a doorway of the south end of the building when the 2-story brick facade collapsed outward, pinning him as he was running away. He was immediately extricated by fellow firefighters and civilian witnesses and treated by the on-scene medic unit. He was transported by ground ambulance to the local heli-pad and flown by air ambulance to the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas where he succumbed to extensive traumatic injuries.”
7/5/2014 a Brooklyn, NY (FDNY) firefighter “died while battling a blaze sparked by a faulty air conditioner wire in a high-rise apartment building in Brooklyn.”
7/5/1910 Plainfield, WI conflagration: “the fire swept the north side of Main Street from the Walker block westward, wiping out of existence about 15 buildings, including some of the leading business houses, besides barns and other outbuildings.”
7/5/1885 Stoughton, Wisconsin ten of the thirteen tobacco warehouses were destroyed by fire at the St. Paul depot; about twenty freight cars loaded with wheat and merchandise were damaged.
7/5/1867 Isaac Newton published the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. This book is regarded as one of the most important in the history of science and established calculations for the movement of celestial bodies.
7/5/1937, the Hormel Foods Corporation introduced Spam, “the famous luncheon meat.”
7/5/1946 the bikini was introduced by designer Louis Reard, a daring two-piece swimsuit, at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris.