On 1/19/2000 the Boland Hall fire at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey killed three and injured more than fifty when two students set the fire as a prank in the freshman dorm around 4:30 a.m. while most students were asleep. Although no accelerants were used the fire rapidly spread across the third-floor lounge. The two students who set the fire were indicted and through a plea agreement were sentenced to five years imprisonment in early 2007. The school now enforces strict fire codes. “New Jersey enacted the first mandatory residence hall sprinkler law in the nation… Boland Hall was the largest dormitory building on-campus housing 702 first-year students. The six-story coed dormitory was located on the western end of the campus. The building was of noncombustible construction with brick and concrete block exterior walls, and hollow-core block walls separated the common hallways from the individual dormitory rooms. North Boland was a suite-style dormitory with two rooms sharing a bathroom. South Boland was single-gender, by floors, dormitory, and is arranged so individual rooms share a community bathroom. Most rooms had double occupancy. Boland Hall also had a large lounge located in the basement. Smaller student lounges and common areas were located in the public hallways on each floor. The building was served by several elevators and enclosed stairwells are located at the ends of the dormitory wings. The front desk was staffed 24 hours a day and there were 19 resident assistants and two professional staff members who oversaw Boland Hall… Fire investigators later theorized that the smoldering paper banner eventually fell onto the upholstered furniture igniting the cushions. The fire spread rapidly across three upholstered couches in the lounge in the roughly 25-foot by 25-foot elevator lobby and adjoining area. The couches, made of polyurethane-like foam rubber, burned rapidly, generating high heat and thick, blinding, choking smoke that would prove deadly. Temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees F were produced in less than five minutes. The heat and smoke from these combustibles filled the hallways while many students remained in their rooms, ignoring the fire alarms. In just a few short minutes, conditions in the hallways became oven-like.”
On 1/19/2015 six members of the same family died in an Annapolis, Maryland 16,000-square-foot, two-story mansion fire around 3:30 a.m. The house was built in 2005 and had seven bedrooms and 7-½ bathrooms. There were no fire hydrants in the area. Firefighters shuttled water using tankers and stationed a fire boat at a pier near the property for a water supply. The fire started in a faulty electrical outlet powering Christmas tree lights on a 15-foot Fraser fir, cut 65 days earlier, in the “Great Room” with 19-ft. ceilings and connected to the sleeping and living areas. “Residential blazes that begin with Christmas trees are three times as deadly as home fires in general, a study by NFPA found.”
On 1/19/1982 a lunch hour explosion ripped through the kitchen of the Star Elementary School in Spencer, Oklahoma, a one-story block building, that killed five children and a teacher and injured thirty-five, the blast was caused by a water heater after the steam buildup in the 75-gallon heater during the lunch hour.
On 1/19/2017 a high-rise building fire in Tehran collapsed, killing at least thirty firefighters and injuring seventy-five others. The Plasco building, a historic structure in central Tehran, just north of the capital went down in a matter of seconds. Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours before the collapse. The 17-story tower, built in the early 1960s, by businessman Habib Elghanian, was named after his plastics manufacturing company. A side of the building came down first, followed by a thick plume of brown smoke that rose over the site after the collapse. The building was occupied by residents and garment shop workers when the fire started on the ninth floor at around 7:50 a.m.
On 1/19/2011 around 6:55 p.m. a Lutherville, Baltimore County, Maryland, firefighter died “while searching a third-floor apartment above the four-alarm fire that started on the first floor. The fire and smoke traveled up the common stairwell, igniting the third-floor apartment after the fire breached the second-floor apartment through a sliding glass door in the rear of the structure but was oxygen-limited. Another crew, initiating a civilian rescue, was in a second-floor apartment. The fire rapidly build-up on the second floor trapping the firefighters. This fire emphasizes the importance of keeping doors closed on the fireground until the fire is under control.”
On 1/19/2003 a Porter, Texas firefighter died while fighting a fire at an antique auto repair business in Montgomery County. “Crews responded to the building reporting heavy fire and smoke showing in the rear of the 100’ X 100’ building. His crew had advanced a 1-¾” line through the showroom and just into the shop area when an apparent flashover occurred. Three of his crew members, on a handline with him, were able to find their way out of the building after exit air horns were sounded. Two were hospitalized for burns and one was treated on the scene and released. The two firefighters who were transported were on fire as they exited the building and had to be extinguished with a hand line. The firefighter who perished, was unable to find his way out, was found in an office.”
On 1/19/1999 a Syracuse, New York fire investigator “was in the attic of a residential structure that had experienced a fire five days prior. A private fire investigator and an electrical consultant were also in the attic with him. During the investigation, a chimney, which had been supported by the roof before the fire, collapsed onto him and inflicted severe injuries. The chimney was too heavy for the personnel on the scene to lift and it stayed in place until additional personnel arrived. Medical treatment was initiated immediately after he was freed and was continued at the hospital, to no avail. The cause of death on the autopsy was listed as multiple injuries due to falling debris from a recent fire.”
On 1/19/1984 a New Haven, Connecticut firefighter died “while battling a spectacular fire that turned an abandoned building at the former U.S. Steel plant on Fairmont Avenue into a raging furnace. Arson was the cause of the four-alarm fire that took his life.”
On 1/19/1980 a Mara Township, Ontario, Canada firefighter “died after falling thru a weakened floor into the still burning basement, after several attempts to gain entry, he was removed and transported to the hospital, where he died from smoke inhalation.”
On 1/19/1972 a Queens, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died while operating at a three-alarm fire.”
On 1/19/1967 a Marietta, Ohio firefighter “was killed at 12:35 a.m. while fighting a fire at the Donnelly Building in the 200 block of Second Street.”
On 1/19/1966 a Spokane, Washington firefighter died in the basement of Saad’s Shoe Store at Main and Wall Streets. “It would be fought by 223 men before it was over. The firefighter was with a crew that entered the basement through a sidewalk opening and down a ladder to get to the fire. The smoke blocked all vision. By the time they had reached the basement, another crew was coming down the basement steps from the alley. At this time a backdraft took place. In their efforts to escape the heat and fire, one of the men with him fell down the ladder, knocking the others down. In the confusion and smoke, several of the men were disoriented. When the first man escaped to the street level he said, “You had better get them out of there … they are going to die.” Before other firefighters could get them out, several were overcome by smoke. The firefighter could not be revived and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Nine other firefighters were hospitalized.”
On 1/19/1958 a Minneapolis, Minnesota firefighter “died of a heart attack brought on by exertion in intense heat and smoke at a fire in the Ralston-Purina mill at Hiawatha Avenue and 38th Street. He died at the fire scene.”
On 1/19/1946 a Boston, Massachusetts firefighter “was injured when a skylight fell and hit him, knocking him unconscious after a backdraft occurred. He died of smoke inhalation at 188 Falcon Street, East Boston, at Box 6179 (Putnam & Falcon Streets), at 2:37 p.m.
On 1/19/1935 a Portland, Oregon firefighter died from “overexertion and heavy smoke while fighting a house fire at NE 57th and Sandy Boulevard. An overheated furnace pipe was responsible for the fire.”
1/19/1932 a Cincinnati, Ohio firefighter “was attempting to kick in the cellar windows of a house on fire at 1550 Teakwood Ave, when he staggered backward and collapsed. The Life Saving Squad was summoned. Members of the squad along with a doctor, a volunteer member, worked on him for half an hour with a pulmotor, but were unable to revive him.” A pulmotor is a mechanical respiratory apparatus that forces oxygen or air into the lungs
On 1/19/1925 a Camden City, New Jersey firefighter died in a building fire. “About 9:30 a.m., Engine 4 turned out on a phone alarm reporting an oil stove fire in an occupied building at 924 North 2nd Street near State Street in North Camden. The fire occurred in the residence located above his grocery store. Upon arrival, two firefighters carried a large copper portable extinguisher to the second floor. The flames were quickly extinguished, and the nozzle closed. Suddenly, the fire extinguisher exploded like a bomb. The firefighter was struck in the face by pieces of the fragmented appliance and killed instantly.
On 1/19/1922 a Camden, New Jersey firefighter “died from injuries he sustained on January 18, 1922, when he and other firefighters were caught beneath a collapsing wall at a multiple-alarm fire involving a department store.”
On 1/19/1919 two Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighters died “while operating at a three-alarm fire, they were killed when a wall collapsed onto the roof of the adjoining shed that they were operating from.
On 1/19/1919 a Bronx, NY (FDNY) firefighter died in a building collapse while at a working fire at 423 E. 104th Street, Box # 66-33-769.
On 1/19/1916 a Fort Smith, Arkansas firefighter died from injuries he received when he stepped on a live electric wire at the Crabtree Livery Barn Fire
On 1/19/1908 a Buffalo, New York firefighter “died after being overcome while operating at a fire at 509 Lafayette Avenue. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.”
On 1/19/1903 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter was killed while operating at a fire in a seven-story excelsior factory at 394-396 Bowery, Box # 44-268.
On 1/19/2013 a fire consumed at least thirty buildings in the heritage village of Laerdalsoyri, a village of about 1,150 people in Laerdal, on Sognefjord fjord in Norway. “Scores of people were evacuated as winds fanned the flames.”
On 1/19/2010 “fire crews battled a four-alarm blaze in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that destroyed a landmark, the building housing Pizza Man restaurant, an East Side institution located at 1800 E. North Ave. The fire also impacted upstairs apartments and adjoining businesses like CUSH lounge, Grecian Delight restaurant, and Black and White Cafe. The four-alarm fire started at 3:33 a.m. in the 2300 block of N. Oakland Avenue and was declared to be under control just before 9:00 a.m. Firefighters had been dealing with low water pressure. More than 150 firefighters were on the scene of the blaze, along with 35 trucks and other support vehicles. All of the occupants of the building were evacuated, and no firefighters had been injured. The fire was later determined to be an arson fire.”
On 1/19/1985 just before noon, a tractor-trailer pulling two tank trailers of molten sulfur collided with a passenger vehicle on the southbound side of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. The northbound tractor-trailer spilled molten sulfur onto two northbound passenger vehicles that ignited immediately in Benicia, California. The driver of the sulfur truck was pinned and died on the scene, two occupants of a northbound car were splashed with molten sulfur and were severely burned, and one would die four days later.
On 1/19/1966 a fire at a dance hall in Taipei, Taiwan killed thirty-one.
On 1/19/1963 three lives are lost in the Willows Hotel fire in Campbell River, British Columbia. Fifteen occupants were able to escape from the four-story, 50-room structure that was destroyed.
On 1/19/1958 “an explosion tore apart the United Rubber & Chemical plant in the City of Baytown, Texas. Forty men working at the time of the explosion, six were injured and three were killed. Flames shot 150 feet into the air and the blast was felt 10 miles away.”
On 1/19/1922 the Mission High School in San Francisco, California burned as a result of a poor heating system, and 1,000 students were evacuated.
On 1/19/1916 in Galeton, Pennsylvania fifteen businesses and twenty residences were destroyed by an early morning fire. “Seven buildings were blown up with dynamite to check the flames.”
On 1/19/1906 in Londonderry, New Hampshire the Annis Grain & Lumber Mills boiler explosion wrecks the boiler and the engine house.
On 1/19/1896 one block of the city was damaged by an incendiary fire started in a closet on the third story of a brick building on Main Street in Bangor, Maine “was probably set by a firebug”
On 1/19/1857, the North Building of Amherst (Massachusetts) College was destroyed by a fire that started at 7:40 p.m. in the southeast corner on the third floor and quickly extended to the third and fourth stories of the east end of the building, and the loft above in the 108’ X 40’ four-story brick building containing thirty-two dormitory rooms.