1/5/1995 a Seattle, WA warehouse fire left four firefighters dead when the floor between the upper and lower levels collapsed. At 7:02 p.m. firefighters were called to the Mary Pang Frozen Chinese Food plant at South Dearborn Street and Seventh Avenue South. More than 100 firefighters battled the five-alarm blaze. The intentionally set fire began in the lower level building, directly below the area where crews were conducting interior fire operations. The heavy timber building constructed in 1909 had been modified a number of times including a cripple wall constructed of 2” X 4” installed to support the joists of the floor assembly between the upper and lower levels. When this wall failed it caused the floor to fail. There was some “confusion about the physical layout of the building, as well as the location of crews working in, above, and around the structure” emphasizing the need for pre-fire planning. “This incident so tragically illustrates, a great many dangers must still be accounted for during fire fighting operations.” After the Pang warehouse fire, the Seattle Fire Department created a safety officer position and a safety division. “The Fire Department acknowledged communication breakdowns led to the firefighters’ death. Jurors assigned 75 percent of the blame in the firefighters’ death to the Seattle Fire Department. Pang was deemed 25 percent responsible.”
1/5/1893 eight firefighters were injured in a natural gas explosion during a fire in Chicago, IL at the Donohue & Henneberry Building an “immense” eight-story brick building and printing establishment, at 407-425 Dearborn Street “supposed to be fireproof and supplied with all the modern appliances for fighting fire, such as fire plugs, mercurial alarms, extinguishers, etc.” The building was occupied by twenty-five printing firms.
1/5/1931 a Baltimore, MD firefighter died at a large, 30-room frame country club structure that was heavily involved during a four-alarm fire. “After the fire was brought under control, a group of firefighters were spraying a stream of water into the gutted structure through a window from the front porch, when it suddenly collapsed, burying six men. Rescuers were able to remove five of the men through a cellar window, but the sixth man was pinned by a large beam.”
1/5/1936 a Hartford, CT firefighter “died as a result of the effects of severe exposure he suffered while operating at a fire on December 30, 1935.”
1/5/1942 a Chicago, IL firefighter “died while fighting an apartment building fire on North Lockwood Avenue. The fire started in a basement storeroom and was fed by a number of wooden storage partitions spread throughout the basement. The firefighter collapsed in the smoke-filled basement while trying to break apart one such partition. He was carried out of the building and a rescue squad tried for more than an hour to revive him, but they were unable to do so.”
1/5/1946 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was severely burned while attempting to put out a fire at 9 Sherlock Place. The fire which originated in the cellar of a two-story building. He suffered second and third degree burns of the face, head, hands, and smoke inhalation. He was taken to Cumberland Hospital.”
1/5/1959 a Chicago, IL firefighter “collapsed at bowling alley fire (Box # 8681) at 7304 N. Western.”
1/5/1959 a Baltimore, MD firefighter “died from injuries he sustained in a fall from the roof of a storage warehouse during a six-alarm fire.”
1/5/1963 a St. Paul, MN firefighter “was overcome by smoke while fighting fire at the Laska drug store, at Western & Selby, on January 4, 1963. He was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital where he later died from the effects of lung damage from the chemical irritants in the smoke.”
1/5/1996 a Brooklyn, New York firefighter “died from burns sustained during a two-alarm fire at an apartment building in Queens, New York. Unaware that the occupants of the apartment had already left, he and four other firefighters were searching for victims and fighting the fire when they were engulfed in flames after breaking through a door.”
1/5/2007 an Upland, Indiana firefighter died from injuries he received at to a structure fire on January 3. “Upon their arrival, firefighters found a 2-story wood frame structure with heavy smoke showing. There was no fire visible from the exterior. The firefighter was by himself on the nozzle of attack line a short distance into the structure. He began to flow water on visible fire. As he rotated to apply water, his feet fell through the floor. The firefighter held himself at floor level with his arms but was unable to get out of the hole. Firefighters entered the structure in an attempt to free the trapped firefighter from the hole but were unable to do so due to smoke conditions and the lack of SCBA by some firefighters. A firefighter with an SCBA held on to the firefighter to prevent him from falling into the basement. A large piece of plaster fell and struck this firefighter on the head. The firefighter lost his hold on the trapped firefighter and he fell into the basement. Firefighters lowered a ground ladder into the hole and entered the basement. After some difficulty, the firefighter was removed from the basement and brought to a waiting ambulance. Approximately 20 minutes had passed from the time the firefighter fell into the hole and when he was removed from the structure. He was transported by ambulance and medical helicopter to a regional hospital. Despite treatment at the hospital, the firefighter died on January 5, 2007. The cause of death was listed as positional asphyxiation.”
1/5/2019 a fire started at the ADM (Archer Daniels Midland, a corn processing) plant in Clinton, Iowa started around 5:45 a.m. when employees discovered a smoldering material in a silo storage bin. While working on the fire, there was an explosion that occurred in the silo leaving one firefighter dead and a second injured.
1/5/2014 a midtown Manhattan, NY three-alarm high-rise apartment left one dead and one injured; the victims were overcome by smoke and flames in the stairwell around 11:00 p.m.
1/5/1985 the Texaco gas plant in Erath, LA was destroyed by fire, forcing the evacuation of a two-mile area around the facility, the fire started in the hot oil system of the processing plant that produced butane and propane.
1/5/1943 Massena, NY an explosion in a restaurant and filling station killed eight; the explosion is believed to have been caused by a can of gasoline which ignited within the restaurant.
1/5/1924 the business district in Reinbeck, IA was destroyed by fire; temperatures were recorded at 18 degrees below zero.
1/5/1912 Washington, D.C. the Spaight House was destroyed by fire that killed one. During a game of “tag” coal from the stove set an eight-year old’s skirt on fire.
1/5/1911 Kalamazoo, MI the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was destroyed by fire of unknown origin.
1/5/1911 Smiley, TX conflagration started at 2:00 a.m. and spread to eight businesses.
1/5/1908 fifty houses were destroyed in Albia, IA after a fire extended to a boxcar containing forty boxes dynamite, each contained 25 sticks of that exploded, no one was killed. The fire started in the storeroom of the Hocking Supply Company.
1/5/1905 Springfield, MA City Hall burned, a two-story brick structure completed in 1855, the fire was caused by the upsetting of a kerosene lamp.
1/5/1900 Richmond, VA the American Tobacco Co Warehouse was destroyed by fire that extends to Kingan Cold storage plant and Carter & Ryland’s commission house; the Merchants and Planters’ tobacco warehouse covered about a third of a block and stored some 3,600 hogsheads* of tobacco, 2,600 of which belonged the American Tobacco Company.
1/5/1893 the M. Binder saloon, C. B. McDonald store, O. H. P. Allerton store in Antigo, WI were destroyed by fire.
1/5/1881 Lockport, NY the Hodge Opera House and the Gargling oil building block fire started about 3:00 a.m. in all 18 businesses were destroyed.
1/5/1880 a dance hall fire killed eight in New York City, NY that started in the basement of Turner Hall, on East Fourth Street, an occupied as a ball room. The victims were found on the upper floors of the multistory building.
1/5/1982 landslides near San Francisco, CA killed thirty-three people and closed the Golden Gate Bridge. Approximately 18,000 landslides took place in the San Francisco Bay Area following a heavy rainstorm.
1/5/1943 Ducktown, TN a copper mine explosion killed eight; “a routine detonation of a normal amount of dynamite, set off at 3:00 p.m. caused a dust explosion which in turn interrupted the working of an air fan.”
1/5/1917 Vireton, OK a school was destroyed by a tornado killing fifteen children.