1/17/1922 a Bloomington, IL firefighter “died from injuries he sustained after he had fallen from an icy roof during a fire call.”
1/17/1962 a Chicago, IL firefighter died while trying to rescue three small children from a burning apartment building at 1418 South Trumball. “Three unattended children had set fire to their apartment with matches or a cigarette lighter and the fire quickly spread into other apartments in the three-story apartment building. Fire department response was delayed when one of the building’s residents tried to telephone the department, but others on the shared party line refused to hang up. Most of the tenants were able to escape the building, but the three brothers, all under the age of six, remained trapped. By the time the fire department arrived on the scene, flames were consuming the front door of the building and the screams of the trapped three children could be heard from their first-floor apartment. He led three firefighters and a hoseline through the front entrance, but the front stairway collapsed below them. The three firefighters were quickly pulled from the burning wreckage, having suffered minor burns, cuts, and bruises, but he suffered fatal burns. The three young brothers also perished in the fire.”
1/17/1977 a Utopia, Queens, New York (FDNY) “firefighter died from injuries he sustained while working at a box alarm at the World’s Fair Grounds.”
1/17/1979 an Oakland, CA firefighter “died of smoke inhalation while operating at a fire which destroyed a seven-car train in the BART Transbay Tube under San Francisco Bay. He and several other firefighters ran out of air while trying to exit the tunnel. He collapsed and was given CPR. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. A total of forty civilians, who were trapped in the tunnel, and forty-four firefighters, suffered respiratory problems due to the intense smoke and heat generated by the burning train.”
1/17/1984 a Robbinsdale, MN firefighter died “while advancing a hoseline on a fire in the basement of a single-family dwelling, He became disoriented after “buddy breathing” with his lieutenant (company officer), who had run out of air. The lieutenant went back to the cellar stairs where he was pulled out by fellow firefighters, unconscious. After being revived with oxygen, the officer looked for the firefighter and discovered that he was missing. A search started, and he was seen at a small window in the basement asking for another SCBA. Suddenly, conditions rapidly deteriorated. Heavy fire and smoke in the building kept rescue crews from entering and it was a while before they found him unconscious in the cellar. All efforts to revive him proved futile and he was pronounced dead.”
1/17/1991 a Paterson, New Jersey firefighter died in a building fire. “At approximately 5:54 a.m., the City of Paterson Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Main Street. The fire spread to a second building and there was a minor blow-out of windows and a large ball of fire. There was a roll call and head count taken at this time and it was determined that a firefighter was missing. Search and rescue procedures began immediately. The search continued for two days until his body was found in the basement in the corner of a women’s apparel shop called the Underground II, where the fire is believed to have started. The blaze raged out of control for more than 12 hours and was fought by more than 200 firefighters. In the end, an entire city block was destroyed, and caused about $15 million in damage.”
1/17/2015 a truck fire on the French side of the Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche; also referred to as the Chunnel) caused an interruption of Eurostar train services and resulted in the evacuation of forty-two people from the train into the service tunnel.
1/17/2018 a commercial dryer at an Antioch, CA assisted living facility caught fire, displacing dozens of elderly residents and Alzheimer’s patients. Firefighters responded at 1:15 p.m. to the one-alarm fire at Country Place Assisted Living, 1715 Olive Lane. The flames activated a sprinkler directly above the dryer, containing the fire that crews extinguished by 1:41 p.m. after ensuring that flames had not traveled from the dryer’s vent to the ceiling.
1/17/1983 Newark, New Jersey a devastating gasoline vapor explosion claimed the life of one oil company employee and injured twenty-four, the destruction of four storage tanks, and the loss of 3 million gallons of gasoline at 12:16 a.m. Failing to monitor the tank-filling operation properly resulted in a spill that was ignited by flashback from a nearby incinerator resulted in several minor initial explosions followed by the destructive explosion.
1/17/1981 the Inn on the Park fire at a luxury hotel overlooking Leslie Street and Eglinton Avenue in North York, Ontario killed six and injured about sixty around 2:20 a.m. after starting in a second-floor meeting room in the tower. The flames were primarily confined to the room of origin, smoke travel up the shafts into rooms; the six people, including two children, were killed by carbon monoxide. It took about 30 minutes for proper instructions to reach guests. The 23-story, 269 guest-room facility, with a 330,000-square-foot convention area and two restaurants was built in 1963. “The fire prompted changes to fire regulations, including transferring responsibility for hotel inspections from the Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario to the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal.”
1/17/1957 Liberal, KS a pipeline gas compressor explosion killed three workmen and threatening natural gas supplies as far east as Detroit. Caused by the failure of a piece of equipment on a compressor engine.
1/17/1956 SS Salem Maritime tanker explosion and fire killed twenty-one in Lake Charles, LA after gasoline leaked from a defective bulkhead and entered a tank being loaded with kerosene. A spark ignited the vapors on board the 10,584-gross ton tanker built in 1945.
1/17/1942 Seattle, WA White Center House fire killed three when one of the victims “poured kerosene into a stove in which she believed all embers had died.”
1/17/1938 a father and four children died in a fire that destroyed their two-story frame house.
1/17/1912 Livingston, MT the picture film caught fire forcing 4,000 to evacuate the theatre that “started a wild rush for the exits, Mrs. E. Powers White, wife of the owner of the theater, rushed on to the stage and began to sing, “America,” thus saying the panic.”
1/17/1911 Buffalo, NY the Hotel Statler was destroyed by fire.
1/17/1908 Scranton, PA a fire at the Knitting Mill killed four and seriously injured ten of the eighty-five girls on the 3rd floor after the fire broke out on the ground floor where some men were varnishing furniture in a warehouse and quickly ascended the elevator shaft. “The fire escape is one of those in which the last reach of stairs is held in a horizontal position by a wright and pulley device. The girls first to reach this were afraid to descend it when they saw its far end moving downward. This caused a jam.”
1/17/1906 six large brick buildings were destroyed on Merchants’ Row by fire in Rutland, VT that were occupied by nearly a score of firms that started shortly before 4:00 a.m. “Two heavy party walls finally arrested the flames, and the energetic work of the firemen won out.”
1/17/1898 Williams, AZ a fire in railroad tunnel killed one after sparks from an engine set the timbering on fire in the Fairview Tunnel on the Santa Fe Road, while men were fighting the fire in the tunnel a mass of rocks and charred timbers caved-in.
1/17/1884 Las Vegas, NM the Montezuma Hotel was destroyed by fire around noon.
1/17/1706 Benjamin Franklin’s birthday; the Father of the American Fire Service was born in Boston. “The man who established the first volunteer fire department also invented bifocals, wrote and printed Poor Richard’s Almanac, studied electricity and helped draft the Declaration of Independence. The first volunteer fire department began in Philadelphia in 1736, after an extensive fire in Philadelphia. Franklin established the first all-volunteer fire brigade which was known as The Union Fire company and comprised of 30 volunteers. As the idea of volunteer fire brigades gained popularity, additional companies were formed in Philadelphia. Each of the companies paid for their own equipment and located it throughout town at strategic places.”