On 1/13/1908 the Rhodes Opera House in Boyertown, Pennsylvania fire killed 171 including a firefighter during a church-sponsored play in the 2nd-floor auditorium when a kerosene lamp was knocked over and extended to a stereoscopic machine fueled by gasoline. Actors hearing the commotion lifted the curtain to investigate and the heavy pole at the bottom of the curtain knocked over the tank of kerosene supplying the footlights that exploded into a sheet of flame running up the flimsy curtain and scenery. Most of the exits were either unmarked or locked. Two fire escapes were accessed through latched windows with sills 3½ feet above the floor. Many of the victims were crushed in the narrow main entrance stairway and against the jammed main exit doors on the second floor in their panic to escape. The “Rhoads Opera House” was a “three-story commercial brick building that contained a hardware store and a bank on its first floor, an auditorium (the “opera house”) and offices on its second floor, and several meeting rooms and offices on its third floor. The auditorium was a rental facility made available for public and private events. The auditorium included a small stage. A lecture and “magic lantern” (slide show) show was presented at intermission to provide historical background for the play “The Scottish Reformation”. On the night of the performance, 312 tickets were sold; however, the actual attendance is not clear, and several accounts suggest many patrons were standing. Approximately sixty people were involved in the production.”
On 1/13/1818 a Southwark Hose Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter “died in the performance of his duties.”
On 1/13/1897 a Detroit, Michigan firefighter died from the injuries he sustained after being electrocuted.
On 1/13/1914 a Sandusky, Ohio firefighter was killed while fighting a theater fire on Market Street.
On 1/13/1933 an Omaha, Nebraska firefighter died after suffering from smoke inhalation and the injuries he sustained while operating at the Browning-King Clothing fire at 1501-03 Douglas Street.
On 1/13/1967 a Binghamton, New York firefighter died after being overcome by smoke from a fire at 2 Tremont Avenue
On 1/13/1968 a Denver, Colorado firefighter “died at home after being exposed to cyanide while on duty several days earlier.”
On 1/13/1996 a Pecatonica, Illinois firefighter “died after he was overcome by carbon monoxide during a grain bin rescue. A fire started in the 500,000-bushel corn bin in early December 1995, but the local water supply and fire extinguishing chemicals were both inadequate for extinguishing the flames. After the fire burned for several weeks, outside contractors were hired to evacuate the corn from the bin using huge vacuum hoses… On January 13th firefighters responded to the grain bin after two contractors were overcome by fumes inside the bin. As the only entrance to the bin was at the top, a firefighter climbed the bin’s exterior ladder and then descended into the bin using the interior ladder. During the rescue, alarm bells went off warning another firefighter’s air tank was getting low. The firefighter went over to change the tank. The other firefighter then left but saw the firefighter was having problems in his attempt to rescue the two men. The firefighter helped rescue the trapped contractors, but he was soon overcome by carbon monoxide. He died shortly thereafter from asphyxiation.”
On 1/13/1996 a Milwaukee, Wisconsin firefighter “died after spending 13 years in a coma from injuries sustained in a fire. He was buried when a concrete loading dock he was on collapsed under the weight of tons of wet bales of paper. He had no pulse and was not breathing when he was rescued. His other injuries healed, but his brain was damaged by lack of oxygen in the minutes after the dock collapse. He died as a result of crushing injuries he received fighting a fire at the Milwaukee Waste Paper Company on the Eastside of Milwaukee on September 6, 1982.”
On 1/13/2001 a Bronx, New York (FDNY) firefighter died while fighting an apartment building. “Upon their arrival, firefighters found a working fire on the fourth floor of the building. The firefighter was assigned the roof position in his company. He ascended the aerial ladder of another ladder company and went to the roof along with the roof position firefighter from a different ladder company. The two firefighters forced open the bulkhead door of the fire building and then cut holes in the roof to provide ventilation. The crew from the other ladder company cut the holes with a power saw. The firefighter assisted with pulling back roofing materials and pushing ceilings down inside the structure. After roof operations were complete, he descended the stairs to the fire floor and assisted with overhaul for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. After overhaul was complete, he left the building and talked with other firefighters on the street. He discussed the difficulty in opening the roof and announced that he was tired and then dropped to his knees. A firefighter offered him oxygen, but he declined the offer and walked to a rehab unit that was set up a block away. After getting a drink at the rehab unit, the firefighter returned to his apparatus and sat down. A short time later, the firefighter called a nearby firefighter for oxygen and said that he was not feeling well. Emergency medical services (EMS) workers on the scene were summoned. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and he was transported to the hospital by ambulance but efforts to aid him were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m. The cause of death was listed as hypertensive and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease with smoke inhalation as a contributing cause. Two civilians were killed in the fire.”
On 1/13/2022 a Saint Louis Missouri firefighter “died while operating at a house fire in the 5900 block of Cote Brilliante. The fire department received a call around noon for a fire at a two-story brick building. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire on the first floor and made their way to the second floor. The fire got too intense and firefighters decided to get out. As they were backing out, the roof collapsed on two firefighters. One firefighter was trapped under a “tremendous amount of debris” of heavy timber and bricks and took “the brunt of the collapse to his person.” The firefighter was killed by the collapse and debris, not from the fire.
On 1/13/2012 the Pine Island Florida Chamber of Commerce building was destroyed in an early morning suspicious fire just after 3:00 a.m. that also ruined local artists’ work on display inside the building.
On 1/13/1982, an Air Florida Boeing 727 plunged into the Potomac River after crashing into the 14th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C. that killed seventy-eight in bad weather after it took off from Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia en route to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
On 1/13/1952 the Sinton Hotel fire in Cincinnati, Ohio left two dead and nine injured. The fire burned through the top three floors of the annex of the nine-story hotel. About 350 guests were registered in the hotel.
On 1/13/1952 a twelve-year-old boy was killed, and two others were injured by the explosion of a dynamite cap at Corriganville outside the Cumberland, Maryland city limits. The investigation showed some dynamite caps had been taken from a quarry across the creek from where the blast occurred.
On 1/13/1934 Hertford, North Carolina a steam boiler explosion killed six and injured eight at the Eastern Cotton Oil Company that was destroyed by the blast.
On 1/13/1926 a coal mine gas explosion and fire killed ninety-one near Wilburton, Oklahoma. The explosion wrecked the main shaft and entombed the miners.
On 1/13/1917 the Scoville Mansion in Chapinville, Connecticut was destroyed by fire, the gray stone mansion was one of the showplaces of Litchfield County. The house and contents were destroyed that included many works of art, rugs, paintings, and tapestries. The mansion built in 1894 was architecturally a modified design of a castle. It is believed that a defective flue in the upper fireplace of the main chimney was responsible for the fire.
On 1/13/1914 three hundred students were displaced when the Olney Avenue School Building in Marion, Ohio burned that originated from an improperly protected furnace.
On 1/13/1909 a fire destroyed the four-story Baldwin Theater and Dixon building, on Saint Louis Street, badly damaging the New Colonial Hotel and threatening the entire business district of Springfield, Missouri after starting in the theater caused by a gas leak. “A fierce wind carried sparks and burning embers many blocks, and scores of residences caught fire in the roofs.” No one was injured, but “panic among the 200 hotel guests, who rushed from their rooms to the streets carrying their grips and part of their clothes.”
On 1/13/1904 the Brown Shoe Company elevator accident killed ten in Saint Louis, Missouri. A crowd of employees pressing against an elevator gate on the sixth floor caused ten persons to plunge down the shaft.
On 1/13/0532 most of Constantinople was destroyed by fire during the Nika riots (“Nika”, means to win or conquer) after a crowd became angry watching races at the Hippodrome. Over “the next five days the palace was under virtual siege. The fires that started during the tumult resulted in the destruction of much of the city, including the city’s foremost church, the Hagia Sophia (which Justinian would later rebuild). About thirty thousand rioters were reportedly killed. Justinian also had Hypatius executed and exiled the senators who had supported the riot. He then rebuilt Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia, and was free to establish his rule.”