8/4/1870 a Columbus, Ohio firefighter died “when a wall collapsed while he was operating at a general alarm blaze in a woolen mill.”
8/4/1887 a Baltimore, Maryland firefighter died while fighting heavy fire throughout a five-story brick building on Pratt Street. “Within four minutes, the fire went to three alarms as flames blew through the roof and lit up the night sky. While members of Engine 12 operated a line in a rear alley, a portion of the wall collapsed, burying the hose. As the firefighter went back for the nozzle, the remaining portion of the wall collapsed, burying him under tons of burning rubble. A second firefighter was also critically injured by falling glass that cut through his rubber coat and severely wounded his neck and shoulder. He was confined to bed for three months, but never fully recovered. He died February 1st, 1893 as a result of injuries sustained.”
8/4/1966 four Cleveland, Ohio firefighters died at the Metallurgical, Inc., 9801 Walford Avenue S.W. (formerly the Industrial Rayon Corp. complex) fire, where magnesium and aluminum were processed, extinguishing a blaze in a dust collector in one of the buildings. “As several firefighters entered the building and several more went to the roof, an explosion occurred. Four men were trapped on the roof of the burning 50-foot-high structure and killed, and eight others were injured, some seriously. An investigation later revealed that the fire was started when sparks from a workman’s torch ignited metal dust that had accumulated in the duct. Plant employees then attempted to fight the fire, resulting in a 30-minute delay in notifying the fire department. The explosion occurred about 45 minutes after the arrival of firefighters, when the burning aluminum powder came in contact with the air.”
8/4/1967 a Detroit, MI firefighter died from injuries he sustained on July 31, 1967 at 7:00 a.m. (a period of time during the Detroit riots). “He was electrocuted by a high-tension wire that struck his helmet while fighting a fire at a supermarket at Lafayette and Canton on Detroit’s East Side. His skull was so hot it seared to his metal helmet. He died a week later at Detroit General Hospital as a result of burns and infection. He was the second of two firefighters to die during the riots.”
8/4/1986 two Trenton, NJ firefighters died “after helping a third firefighter stretch a hand line into a fire in the rear of a one-story portion of Shenanigan’s Saloon located at 121 South Warren Street. They left the nozzleman to perform a search of the floor. As the two men entered the dining area, there was a sudden buildup of fire, trapping them and forcing the firefighter with the line to retreat out of front door. Heavy fire prohibited the rescue of the trapped men and master streams had to be put to work to knock down the fire. After a lengthy exterior operation, firefighters were finally able to enter the building to search for their missing comrades. Their bodies were found lying in a large pool of water and their air bottles empty. They both had died of smoke inhalation. In addition to the two deaths, thirteen other firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.”
8/4/1952 Waco, TX two Greyhound buses cashed in a head-on collision that killed twenty-eight on a clear stretch of highway and with no other vehicles involved. “Within seconds, exploding fuel tanks transformed the buses into towering funeral pyres. The heat was so intense that melted glass flowed in small rivulets onto the pavement. Some passengers were entirely cremated.”
8/4/1924 the Great Chebeague Island, ME fire started from a cigarette thrown beneath the plaza of the hotel, spread rapidly and left three of the 90 guests at the Hillcrest dead. A summer hotel at Great Chebeague Island, in Casco Bay, the fire extended to the dance hall annex, a private residence, and a boathouse.
8/4/1900 Ashland, Wisconsin conflagration started in the lumber yard and rapidly spread. “Four thousand pounds of dynamite was brought to the scene and distributed all around the edge of the fire zone. Piles of lumber and a score of small buildings were blown into atoms and the flames confined.”
8/4/1900 the Bell Mine explosion in Butte, MT killed one.
8/4/1900 Scranton, PA a gas explosion on Lackawanna Avenue injured twenty-five and leveled five buildings including the three-story bank, the adjoining four buildings a furniture company and a carpet factory. “Many of the injured were passengers on an open trolley car that was directly in front of the bank building at the moment of the explosion. A leak in the gas pipe in the cellar of the bank building was responsible for the explosion. The janitor detected the odor of gas and was going down to the cellar, struck a match and the explosion followed.”
8/4/1894 Franklin, WA a mine fire left thirty-seven dead on the sixth level of the Oregon Improvement Company’s coal mines near Franklin, around 1:00 p.m.
8/4/1889 a huge fire consumed the town, destroying 32 city blocks, of Spokane, WA.
8/4/1981 two Tampa, FL firefighters were shot and killed by “a disgruntled former firefighter. Anthony D’Arcangelo, shot at four workers in the new firehouse across the street from Station No. 1. A Chief was shot in the heart and died instantly. A Firefighter died five days later after being shot in the stomach. Another firefighter survived a bullet to the back. The building superintendent escaped unscathed. D’Arcangelo pleaded insanity and was found guilty Feb. 3, 1982, of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.”
8/4/1790 the U.S. Coast Guard was founded as Revenue Cutter Service, President George Washington signed the Tariff Act after Congress approved Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury, to create a maritime service to enforce customs laws under the control of the Treasury Department. Later several other services, U.S. Lighthouse Service, U.S. Life-Saving Service, Steamboat Inspection Service, and Bureau of Navigation, were merged into what is now known as the U.S. Coast Guard; in 1915 Congress gave it its official name -United States Coast Guard, and on April 1, 1967 it was transferred the newly-formed Department of Transportation and again on March 1, 2003 the USCG was moved to the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard was the nation’s first armed force on the seas, eight years before Congress established the Navy Department. From the Quasi-War with France from 1798-1801 to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. Coast Guard has served in every armed conflict in American history. The motto is “Semper Paratus” always ready.