On 1/15/1919 the Boston (Massachusetts) Molasses Disaster or Great Molasses Flood killed twenty-one and injured 150 when a large wave of molasses over 8’ tall rushed through the streets at 35 mph after a 2,300,000 gallons storage tank burst in the North End neighborhood at the Purity Distilling Company. A Boston firefighter was fatally injured in the Engine house where he worked after the explosion at a nearby molasses plant. The explosion of one of the molasses tanks sent debris crashing into the firehouse. The firefighters that were working at the time were either trapped or buried in the rubble. One, the last to be found, hours later, was dead on the second floor near the pole hole in the bunk room. A huge timber had fallen on top of him along with a piano and pool table that were on top of the timber.
On 1/15/1895 a dynamite explosion at the railroad yard in Butte, Montana after a fire started in the Kenyon-Connell Warehouse and the Butte Hardware Company killed fifty-seven people, including thirteen firefighters and about a hundred were injured. A large quantity of dynamite was illegally stored in the building. “It was about five minutes before 10:00 p.m. that an alarm of a fire was burning in what has since come to be known as “Fateful Box 72”, located at the corner of Utah Avenue and Iron Street. This was Butte’s warehouse district. Among the warehouses were those of Kenyon-Connell Commercial Company and the Butte Hardware Company. Some railroad men in charge of switch engines first saw smoke coming from the roof of the Kenyon-Connell building. A police officer who was on duty in that part of the city turned in the fire alarm from Box 72. The apparatus and the men from the Central Fire Station, in City Hall, responded to the alarm. It was the last call for all but two of them.” The members were killed in an explosion of the Kenyon-Connell Warehouse, which took the lives of 57 people including the 13 firefighters and a police officer plus three fire department horses. “While the dead and wounded were being removed another explosion occurred which killed more persons.” Several buildings were destroyed by the explosion and fire. “The buildings destroyed by the fire and wrecked by the explosion include the warehouses of the Kenyon-Cornell Mercantile Company, the Butte Hardware Company, The Parchen Drug Company, the Schlitz Brewing Company, and the Electric Light Works. The Great Northern freight depot and several other buildings were in ruins. The loss amounts to many thousand dollars, but the greater part of the property was insured.” “On January 31, 1895, a jury concluded the Kenyon-Connell Commercial Company and the Butte Hardware Company were criminally negligent in their storing of dynamite.”
On 1/15/1904 a Paterson, New Jersey firefighter was killed when he fell from a ladder while operating at a general alarm fire involving a brewery.
On 1/15/1934 an East Harlem, Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “received a severe laceration to the hand while operating at a fire at 1582 Madison Ave., occurring on January 2, 1934. He died from septic poisoning at Bellevue Hospital on January 15, 1934.”
On 1/15/1947 an East Providence, Rhode Island firefighter “died after being trapped.”
On 1/15/1972 two Little Rock, Arkansas firefighters were killed and seven others injured while operating at a fire. “On arrival at a late-night box alarm, firefighters found heavy fire and smoke belching from an old three-story brick building. Two ladder pipes were immediately put to work, as were several hand lines. After over two hours of hard firefighting, a thick coating of ice covered everything. Truck 4 was operating their ladder pipe and several men were operating hand lines between the truck and the building. Suddenly, there was a loud “POP!” and tons of bricks and timbers started to rain down on the men. As the men began to scramble for their lives, one firefighter hesitated for a moment to shut down the line, and was crushed to death under the avalanche of bricks. As the wall began to fall, the second firefighter jumped to the turntable of Truck 4 to swing the ladder pipe, with the firefighter manning it, away from certain death. In an instant, he was also crushed to death under the tons of falling rubble. Seven other firefighters were injured in the collapse.”
On 1/15/1980 a Tempe, Arizona firefighter died when the roof collapsed on him and eight others during a four-alarm blaze at the Jumbo Bakery and Deli.
On 1/15/2004 a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter died from injuries he received fighting a structure fire. “The firefighter and the members of his engine company were dispatched with other companies to the report of a structure fire in a two-story row house. Upon arrival, he entered the structure without his SCBA to investigate. He reported a fire in the basement to the Incident Commander (IC). He ordered the members of his crew to advance a hose line into the front door of the structure. Firefighters reported a very hot and spongy floor as they advanced. Firefighters at the basement door at the rear of the structure were delayed because of accumulated debris. Firefighters operating the handline from his engine were directed by the IC to prevent the fire from extending into the first floor from the basement. The firefighter was working inside with other firefighters, still without the benefit of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). As he exited the structure for the third time, he fell partially through the floor and was trapped. Firefighters became concerned when they did not hear from him. One firefighter crawled back toward the front of the home but could not reach the front due to floor failure. Firefighters were able to exit the building through the basement; fire control was being achieved. Once outside, firefighters informed the incident commander (IC) that a firefighter was missing. A rapid intervention crew entered the structure and located him. He was found face down with one leg through a hole in the floor. At this point, approximately 18 minutes had passed since he left his crew. He was removed from the building and transported to the hospital. He suffered from burns on approximately 32% percent of his body, smoke inhalation, and carbon monoxide inhalation. He was treated at the hospital and then transferred to a burn unit. Despite aggressive treatment for his injuries, he died on January 15, 2004. The cause of death was listed as smoke and soot inhalation and burns. The fire was caused when combustibles were stored too close to an oil-burning heater.”
On 1/15/2017 three adults and one child died in a fire at an apartment complex in South Toledo, Ohio. The fire started about 4:00 a.m. Up to sixty people were displaced, including residents of the adjacent apartment buildings. Witnesses said the fire began in a middle-floor apartment of the three-story, 12-unit building. One building resident said a man ran through the building banging on doors to wake residents and get them out.
On 1/15/2012 a woman died when the elevator door opened into a fire on the 12th floor of an apartment complex, the fire extended into the lobby when the unit door failed to shut after the residence escaped in the 21-story older North Shore Drive Chicago, Illinois high-rise building; nine others were injured.
On 1/15/2012 a six-alarm fire gutted a giant industrial complex in Cornwall, New York in a former mill building (Type IV construction). Originally, the Firth Carpet Mill was built in the late 1800s and later taken over by Majestic Weaving as a textile plant that was sold and divided into multi-purpose rental units.
On 1/15/1985 a fire extended one complete city block and to 77 automobiles in below-freezing temperature with high winds when a construction crew warming fire spread to a 102,900-sq foot 85-year-old mill construction (Type IV) warehouse under demolition in the light manufacturing section of Hoboken, New Jersey. The warehouse was totally consumed within 30 minutes. A five-story 85,000-square- foot building abutting the warehouse was an extreme exposure problem. “Twelve other fires caused from burning embers being carried by high winds to other locations in the city.”
On 1/15/1916 an accidental fire inside a scrap iron dealer’s shed in Bergen, Norway extended along Strandgaten (Beach Street) driven by gale force winds and ignited a warehouse along Torget (Market Square). The fire jumped from building to building, including the fire station. Fire fighting efforts lasted over ten hours; 380 buildings were destroyed, leaving 2,700 people homeless.
On 1/15/1886 the Almy Mine explosion killed thirteen near Evanston, Wyoming.
On 1/15/1965 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards, launched Fire Journal.
On 1/15/2009 Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III, successfully landed an airplane in the Hudson River after a collision with a flock of geese took out the plane’s engines.