10/17/1966 the Wonder Drugs on East 23rd St New York, NY a mercantile building fire killed twelve firefighters at 9:36 p.m. E-18 and L-7 responded to fire in the store’s basement. A five-inch insulated concrete floor collapsed sending ten men into the inferno, two were killed when a fireball exploded from the basement. “A raging fire in the basement of a four-story brick loft building, caused the first floor to collapse, pitching most of the firefighters who were operating there into the roaring inferno. The ensuing collapse of the upper floors made immediate rescue attempts impossible. Many firefighters had close brushes with death that night and many heroic rescues were made. Several firefighters were seriously injured, twelve died in the collapse. The fire went to five alarms.” “An art dealer stored highly flammable lacquer and other paint supplies in the cellar at 7 East 22nd Street, near Broadway. The smoke was so thick and the heat so intense that the first firefighters to arrive had difficulty entering the building. Fire officers sent crews around the corner to 23rd Street to see if they could enter through the drugstore. What fire crews did not know was that the East 22nd Street building shared a cellar with the Wonder Drug store. In a recent renovation, the dividing cellar wall had been pushed north toward 23rd Street, giving the art dealer more storage space and shrinking the cellar under the drugstore. The art dealer’s supplies were now stored beneath the drugstore…Only a small amount of smoke was wafting out of the drugstore when firefighters went inside. Around 10:40 p.m. as firefighters walked to the back of the store, the floor collapsed with a huge noise, sending 10 firefighters to the burning cellar below. Two others were killed in a flashover of fire on the first floor.” “Among them, the dead men left 12 widows and 32 children. It took 14 hours to dig out the dead. Until September 11, 2001, it was the heaviest loss of life in the Fire Department’s history. A lengthy inquiry showed that a cellar wall had been moved, leaving the drugstore’s five-inch-thick terrazzo floor unsupported and vulnerable to collapse.
10/17/1886 a Saint Paul, MN firefighter “died from a fall down an elevator shaft at a fire at Sherman Block Carpet Company, 6th & Wabasha.”
10/17/1937 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died of smoke inhalation while operating at a single-alarm fire.”
10/17/1945 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was found unconscious in an apartment at 1899 Broadway, after firefighters extinguished a blaze there. He died en route to Bushwick Hospital.”
10/17/1970 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was killed when he fell through a boarded over an area and fell down an elevator shaft while venting the roof at a single-alarm fire.”
10/17/2003 the Cook County (Chicago, IL) Administration High-rise building fire killed six and trapped workers in smoke-filled stairways in a 35-story high-rise building. The fire broke out in the Illinois Secretary of State offices on the 12th floor.
10/17/1989 in San Francisco Bay, CA. an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale hit the area and caused about sixty-seven deaths, 3,000 injuries, and damages up to $7 billion.
10/17/2001 Anthrax was discovered in the U.S. Senate office building.