10/31/1882 a Flatiron, Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “climbed up the front of a burning building on 6th Avenue to rescue a woman and her three children. While on the second floor, in smoky conditions he carried them to the front window and passed them off to other firefighters. The room being very heavily charged with smoke and heat, upon trying to leave, he fell and broke his back.”
10/31/1886 a Chicago, IL firefighter died “following a structural collapse during an industrial fire on Madison Street. The fire, which was confined to the top two floors of the four-story building, was largely extinguished when members of the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol entered the building. He was one of six members of the Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol operating in the basement when the building’s chimney collapsed. The chimney broke through the burning roof and started a structural collapse that traveled down through the building and into the basement. He and two other firefighters were buried in the debris, and while the other two firefighters, who suffered serious injuries, were pulled from the wreckage within an hour, it took firefighters nearly twelve hours to recover his body.”
10/31/1952 an Auburn, Maine died at a fire at 316 Main Street. “On October 27, 1952 Box 116 rang for a structure fire at 316 Main Street. Eleven minutes later the fire went to a second alarm with reports people trapped inside of the building. The firefighters on scene suddenly realized that a firefighter was missing. Two firefighters and the city electrician entered the second-floor apartment to search for the firefighter. Upon doing their search they were able to locate the unconscious firefighter that was behind the kitchen door. Once the wooden door was forced opened and they located and removed both the firefighter and the girl. The three-man made quick work of removal of the victim and firefighter. Through the action of the firefighter using his body and coat to cover the girl he sacrificed his life but saved the young girl’s. The six-year old girl survived while he succumbed to his injuries four days later on October 31, 1952.”
10/31/1958 a Baltimore, Maryland firefighter died “as firefighters battled a fire involving a case of chemicals at a reduction plant, they started to collapse one after the other. The fire was located in a vault-like room on the first floor of the five-story structure. The fumes given off by the chemical apparently penetrated the masks they wore. The firefighter was pronounced dead at the hospital as a result of inhaling the toxic smoke. A total of 25 officers and firefighters collapsed and had to be hospitalized as a result of inhaling the fumes.”
10/31/1984 a Chicago, IL firefighter died “during a fire in a three-story apartment building on October 30. On this evening a stub of a candle glowed through a toothless jack-o-lantern in the window of a Northwest Side apartment building. A spark of the candle`s flame extended to the threads of a curtain. Firefighters were on the roof of the building to cut ventilation holes, one firefighter became disoriented when the smoke became extremely thick, and he fell down a three-story airshaft. He was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital where he died the following day from his injuries.”
10/31/2002 a Leicestershire, UK firefighter “died after falling through a floor while searching for occupants in a smoke-filled disused hosiery factory on Morledge Street, after a passing police officers noticed a fire at about 2:45 a.m.”
10/31/2003 a Northern Ireland, Ireland firefighter “died from injuries when he fell through the bar store roof during a fire at the Gorteen House Hotel in Limavady, Co Derry. His colleagues had already risked their lives inside but were forced back by the fierce heat.”
10/31/2006, Twelve occupants died at the Mizpah Hotel in Reno, NV from an arson fire that occurred in the mainly low-income residential hotel with eighty-five occupants in the building. The fire extended rapidly in the 2nd floor corridor preventing occupants from exiting. Mattresses stored in the 2nd floor corridor provided fuel, the fire was deliberately set by a 47-year-old female resident, she pled guilty to twelve counts of murder and one count of first-degree arson.
10/31/1963 a gas explosion around 11:00 p.m. at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum (now Pepsi Coliseum) in Indianapolis killed seventy-four and injured over 385, 176 were hospitalized as a crowd watched the ice show finale. The force of the first blast pushed upward and outward, catapulting people, seats, concrete and steel into the air. It jarred loose a supporting wall. Part of the flooring caved, forming a crater 50 feet wide down to the storage pit area. A second blast, minutes later, created a fireball that rose as tall as the rafters. Many of the 4,327 spectators were now casualties. Some had been launched, landing on the ice or in the crater. Some had been crushed or struck by debris, mostly near the blast site but also as far away as the other side of the rink. “With hundreds of injured pinned under shattered seats and jagged chunks of concrete, the obvious were left lying in pools of blood on the ice. Horribly injured persons lay unattended for what seemed an interminable time as the first few doctors and nurses on the scene did the best they could.” It was later determined that a faulty propane tank filled the room with gas that ignited when it came into contact with an electric popcorn machine.
10/31/1903 Indianapolis, Indiana a train running at thirty miles an hour, loaded with students of Purdue University, including the football team, wrecked just inside the city limits after a collision with a switch engine hauling a train of coal cars killed fifteen and injured fifty of the 954 students and spectators on board.
10/31/1950 the Society of Fire Protection Engineers was founded in Boston, MA: The “SFPE’s mission is to define, develop, and advance the use of engineering best practices; expand the scientific and technical knowledge base; and educate the global fire safety community, in order to reduce fire risk.”