On 1/5/2022 eight children were among the twelve dead following a row house fire at a Philadelphia Housing Authority Apartments in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “The ages of the victims range from 2 to 33 years old. Eight people evacuated the building and two additional people were transported to the hospital. The Philadelphia Fire Department arrived finding heavy flames at the building in the 800 block of North 23rd Street near Ogden Street just after 6:30 a.m. There were multiple calls to the fire department dispatch center reporting people inside. “We got heavy fire filling the second floor, heavy smoke on the third floor, prepare for rescue,” was heard on dispatch audio. From the moment they arrived, fire crews attacked this blaze aggressively. Firefighters got the fire under control by 7:31 a.m. The building, a three-story row house, was divided into two apartments. The first-floor unit reportedly had eight occupants and the second and third-floor units had eighteen residents. The multi-unit building had a described “odd layout,” possibly preventing a safe escape. According to the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), there are seven smoke detectors and three carbon monoxide detectors in Unit A and six smoke detectors, and three carbon monoxide detectors in Unit B. This makes a total of 13 smoke and 6 carbon monoxide detectors in the building that did not operate on the day of the fire. The building had no additional fire extinguishers, sprinklers, fire escapes, or tamper-proof smoke detectors provided in the rentals. The units were inspected by the PHA separately in April and May 2021 and both were found to have working smoke detectors at that time. At least twenty-six people were living in the duplex with eighteen living in the front section of the second floor and the entire third floor. Eight others lived on the first floor and the rear half of the second floor. The fire began around 6:30 am EST on the second floor of the duplex, and neighbors claimed to hear screams around 6:30 am. Firefighters found a heavy fire coming from the kitchen area and heading up the staircase to the third floor. Firefighters and investigators believe that the fire began at a Christmas tree in the southwest corner of the second-floor unit, near the open stairwell to the third story. The Fire Commissioner said that of the six smoke alarms that were in the unit when the fire started, none were operational when the fire happened. Five had had their batteries removed, and one had been destroyed. There was one working alarm in the basement. Of the fourteen people occupying the unit at the time only two were rescued. A 5-year-old child was found on the second floor and an adult was able to escape out a window, both were classified as critically injured and hospitalized. The child later told investigators at the hospital, that he had been playing with an orange cigarette lighter and accidentally set the tree on fire. A lighter was found near the tree after the fire had been extinguished and no other potential ignition sources were found during the preliminary investigation.
On 1/5/1995 four firefighters died at a Seattle, Washington warehouse fire 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 several 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 firefighting 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 for the firefighters’ death to the Seattle Fire Department. Pang was deemed 25 percent responsible.”
On 1/5/1893 eight firefighters were injured in a natural gas explosion during a fire in Chicago, Illinois 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 a fire, such as fire plugs, mercurial alarms, extinguishers, etc.” The building was occupied by twenty-five printing firms.
On 1/5/1931 a Baltimore, Maryland 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 sprayed a stream of water into the gutted structure through a window from the front porch. The porch 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.”
On 1/5/1936 a Hartford, Connecticut firefighter “died as a result of the effects of severe exposure he suffered while operating at a fire on December 30, 1935.”
On 1/5/1942 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter “died while fighting an apartment building fire on North Lockwood Avenue. The fire started in a basement storeroom and was fed by several 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.”
On 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 originated in the cellar of a two-story building. He suffered second and third-degree burns to his face, head, hands, and smoke inhalation. He was taken to Cumberland Hospital.”
On 1/5/1959 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter “collapsed at bowling alley fire (Box # 8681) at 7304 N. Western.”
On 1/5/1959 a Baltimore, Maryland firefighter “died from injuries he sustained in a fall from the roof of a storage warehouse during a six-alarm fire.”
On 1/5/1963 a Saint Paul, Minnesota firefighter “was overcome by smoke while fighting a fire at the Laska drug store, at Western & Selby, on January 4, 1963. He was taken to Saint Luke’s Hospital where he later died from the effects of lung damage from the chemical irritants in the smoke.”
On 1/5/1996 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) 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.”
On 1/5/2007 an Upland, Indiana firefighter died from injuries he received at 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 the 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.”
On 1/5/2019 a fire started at the ADM (Archer Daniels Midland, a corn processing) plant in Clinton, Iowa. The fire 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.
On 1/5/2014 a midtown Manhattan, New York three-alarm high-rise apartment left one resident dead and one injured; the victims were overcome by smoke and flames in the stairwell around 11:00 p.m.
On 1/5/1985 the Texaco gas plant in Erath, Louisiana 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.
On 1/5/1943 in Massena, New York an explosion in a restaurant and filling station killed eight people. State police questioned the station owner and other witnesses on details of the explosion. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a can of gasoline that ignited within the restaurant. The blast blew out the small building’s front wall and enveloped the station in flames. The war workers were en route to their jobs in the Blancor aluminum plant three miles to the north.
On 1/5/1924 the business district in Reinbeck, Iowa was destroyed by fire; temperatures were recorded at 18 degrees below zero.
On 1/5/1912 the Spaight House in Washington, D.C. was destroyed by a fire that killed one occupant. During a game of “tag” coal from the stove set the skirt of an eight-year-old girl on fire.
On 1/5/1911 the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Kalamazoo, Michigan was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.
On 1/5/1911 the Smiley, Texas conflagration started at 2:00 a.m. and spread to eight businesses.
On 1/5/1908 fifty houses were destroyed in Albia, Iowa after a fire extended to a boxcar containing forty boxes of dynamite, each box held 25 sticks of the explosive material. No one was killed. The fire started in the storeroom of the Hocking Supply Company.
On 1/5/1905 the Springfield, Massachusetts City Hall burned, a two-story brick structure completed in 1855, the fire was caused by the upsetting of a kerosene lamp.
On 1/5/1900 in Richmond, Virginia the American Tobacco Company Warehouse was destroyed by a 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.
On 1/5/1893 the M. Binder saloon, C. B. McDonald store, and the O. H. P. Allerton store in Antigo, Wisconsin were destroyed by fire.
On 1/5/1881 the Hodge Opera House and the Gargling oil building block fire started about 3:00 a.m. in all 18 Lockport, New York businesses were destroyed.
On 1/5/1880 a dance hall fire killed eight in New York City, New York that started in the basement of Turner Hall, on East Fourth Street, an occupied as a ballroom. The victims were found on the upper floors of the multistory building.
On 1/5/1982 landslides near San Francisco, California 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.
On 1/5/1943 a copper mine explosion near Ducktown, Tennessee 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.”
On 1/5/1917 in Vireton, Oklahoma a school was destroyed by a tornado killing fifteen children.