On 1/27/1967 a fire onboard Apollo 1, the Apollo/Saturn 204 (AS-204) spacecraft, killed Command Pilot Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee during a training exercise at Launch Complex 34 at Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) Florida. “A NASA review board found a stray spark (probably from damaged wires near Grissom’s crotch) started the fire in the pure oxygen environment. Fed by flammable features such as nylon netting and foam pads, the blaze quickly spread. Further, the hatch door, intended to keep the astronauts and the atmosphere securely inside the spacecraft, turned out to be too tough to open under unfortunate circumstances. The astronauts had struggled in vain to open the door during the fire, but the pressure inside the spacecraft sealed the door and made it impossible to open… Several changes were made to the design of the Apollo spacecraft to improve crew safety. The flammable oxygen environment for ground tests was replaced with a nitrogen-oxygen mix. Flammable items were removed. New respect developed between the astronauts and the contractors concerning design changes, which were implemented more effectively. Most notably, the door was completely redesigned so that it would open in mere seconds when the crew needed to get out in a hurry.”
On 1/27/2020 eight people died, seven were transported to the hospital, and 35 boats were destroyed along the Tennessee River in Scottsboro, Alabama as a massive fire consumed vessels and dock. “The fire began on one boat and quickly spread to nearby boats tied to slips at Jackson County Park marina, consuming the entire dock and destroying about 35 boats. Five of the victims were siblings and their mother also died in the fire that began just after midnight. “The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the fire aboard the Dixie Delight and subsequent fire at Dock B was a fire of unknown source, originating aboard the Dixie Delight in the vicinity of the vessel’s electrical panel. Contributing to the severity of the fire and loss of life were the County and marina’s limited fire safety practices.” The report said that the dock was not subject to state marina fire codes because it was built before those codes had been adopted. Seven of the people who died had sought refuge on a cabin cruiser that had separated from the dock engulfed in flames. But a burning boat that had broken free from the dock collided with the cabin cruiser, igniting it on fire as the five children, their mother, and another woman were trapped inside its cabin. The eighth victim had also been aboard the cabin cruiser but drowned after jumping into the lake. Four other people who had escaped to the cabin cruiser swam safely to shore.”
On 1/27/1855 a San Francisco, California firefighter “died of the injuries he sustained after being hit by an iron smokestack of the mill, after which he had fallen on his head while operating at a fire at the Clipper Mills at 1st and Jessie.”
On 1/27/1897 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter was fatally injured “while fighting a 4-11 alarm commercial fire that destroyed two six-story buildings at 207 W. Monroe Street. The firefighter was buried in debris when an outer wall of the Singer Building collapsed during the fire. Despite freezing temperatures that froze fire equipment to the sidewalks, more than 70 pieces of fire apparatus responded to the fire alarm, and Engine 6 was among the fire companies that were stationed on the roof of an adjacent building to protect exposure buildings. Firefighters on the roof had several seconds’ notice before the wall of the Singer Building collapsed, but one firefighter slipped on the icy roof, fell, and was crushed under the bricks and other debris.”
On 1/27/1908 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter died while fighting a fire in the Mayer Building at 167 West Adams Street around 4:30 a.m. He was killed when a wall collapsed. It took firefighters nearly twelve hours to recover his body from the debris. The fire destroyed the Mayer Building and the Hotel Florence, and several other buildings sustained damage.
On 1/27/1927 three Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighters were killed, and nineteen other firefighters were injured, some seriously, while operating at a three-alarm fire when the floor of a burning seven-story rag shop collapsed. After the collapse, extra truck companies were special-called to aid in digging out the men, who were crushed and trapped under tons of debris.
On 1/27/1945 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died of smoke inhalation while fighting a four-alarm fire at a four-story paper factory. The fire had started on the third floor and quickly spread to the adjoining floors. The building contained 4,500 tons of paper in 6,000 rolls.”
On 1/27/1961 a Buffalo, New York firefighter “died while operating at a 3-alarm fire at 18, 20, and 24 Cypress Streets. He was transported to Columbus Hospital where he died a short time later.”
On 1/27/1977 a New Haven, Connecticut firefighter “assigned to Hook & Ladder Company #4, responded to a structure fire on Newhall Street shortly after 7:00 p.m. He was working on the snow-covered roof removing the scuttle and chopping a hole in the smoke-enshrouded roof. He collapsed into a snowbank after descending the ladder. Despite the efforts of his fellow firefighters, he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Hospital of Saint Raphael.”
On 1/27/2000 a Sealy, Texas firefighter died at a residential structure fire that was caused when lightning struck a house. “Upon arrival, it was confirmed as a working fire with dark smoke and fire visible from the attic and dormers. Three firefighters entered the structure through the front door to perform an aggressive attack on the fire. Shortly after entering the structure, two firefighters were attempting to feed more hose into the structure. There was a rapid buildup of heat and the hoseline seemed to drop. The two firefighters exited the building and reported this situation to the Chief. Two rapid intervention teams (RIT) were formed and, after four attempts, the second team was successful in recovering the firefighter. He was equipped with full structural protective clothing and a manually activated personal alert safety system (PASS) device. The PASS was found in the “off” position. He was located about 18 feet inside the front door of the structure and removed approximately 20 minutes after his arrival on the scene. The cause of death was listed as smoke and soot inhalation with greater than 80 percent total thermal injury.”
On 1/27/1984 Michael Jackson was burned while making a Pepsi ad when pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California in front of a full house of fans during a simulated concert. “Singer Michael Jackson suffered second-degree burns on the scalp last night while filming a multi-million-dollar soft drink commercial featuring fireworks, which ignited his jacket and hair. Jackson, 25, was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Witnesses reported that Jackson’s hair and jacket caught fire when he moved too close to a pyrotechnics display behind him while dancing on a tiered stage at the Shrine Auditorium to his hit single “Billie Jean.”
On 1/27/2016 a fire in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana forced the closure of historic Canal Street between the city’s central business district and the French Quarter. The fire broke out in a largely empty four-story building and spread to an adjacent building. The fire was declared under control shortly before noon. Structural damage to the buildings was so bad that firefighters were withdrawn. “A collapse was definitely a concern,”
On 1/27/2014 a fire that broke out in the Modelo prison in northern Colombia killed ten and injured dozens after a fight between inmates following routine inspections for drugs and weapons. The fire began when prisoners ignited their mattresses as guards launched tear gas in a bid to break up the fighting; the prison, with a capacity of about 400, houses about 1,200 inmates.
On 1/27/2013 a fire swept through the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria (southern) Brazil that killed at least 245 people; witnesses report “the fire started from out of nowhere” on a stage at the club, rapidly spreading to the ceiling. The fire started at about 2:00 a.m. after the acoustic insulation in the club caught fire.
On 1/27/2002 explosions at the military depot in Lagos, Nigeria, resulted in a stampede that killed more than 1,000 people after a fire at a street market spread to the munitions area at about 6:00 p.m. and leveled an area of several square blocks.
On 1/27/1970 a butane gas explosion killed two and injured six at the Davenport Motor Company in Blakely, Georgia. The blast shattered nearly every window in the downtown area and could be felt 14 miles away.
On 1/27/1908 a block of the business section of Everett, Massachusetts was destroyed by an early morning fire.
On 1/27/1899 in Limerick, Maine several buildings were destroyed by a fire that started at 5:30 a.m.
On 1/27/1893 the Tower Hotel in Superior, Wisconsin was destroyed by fire and left two dead at 10:00 p.m. The fire started in the rear of the hotel from a defunct gas jet, getting into a void space between the ceiling and the roof.
On 1/27/1892 the Rockwall (Texas) County Courthouse was destroyed by a fire that is believed to have started in the dome from a defective flue in the wooden structure.
On 1/27/1885 in Indianapolis, Indiana State Insane Asylum was destroyed by fire. There was no panic or injuries among the seventeen hundred patients, most of whom watched the fire.