On 11/15/1942 six firefighters were killed and forty-three injured in the Luongo Restaurant fire, in East Boston, Massachusetts. Many were trapped under debris for hours after a wall collapsed without warning and after the fire was declared under control. The “Old Armory” building stood in Maverick Square on Henry Street, near the subway station. “On November 15, 1942, a large fire occurred at Luongo’s Restaurant in East Boston. The fire started on the first floor, in the rear of the restaurant. The Fire Department received a call reporting the fire at 2:26 a.m. At 2:27 a.m. the East Boston companies were notified and responded from their fire station a few blocks away. The second alarm was sounded at 3:04 a.m. when the fire seemed to be making headway. The third alarm was sounded at 3:24 a.m. Then at 4:15 a.m., without warning, a structural wall collapsed, trapping firefighters in the building and burying Ladder 8. Fourth and fifth alarms were sounded to help in the rescue effort and to fight the fire which had gotten a fresh start after the collapse and killing of six of the men who were working on the second floor. After the collapse, the fire gained in intensity and spread to several other buildings. After hours of arduous digging, the bodies of the six men were found. One firefighter was supposed to be off the day of the fire but had changed his schedule to use his time later. One firefighter was trapped under tons of rubble for 11 hours. Fellow firefighters had tunneled into where he lay, but he was too heavily pinned to get him out. They encouraged him to hang on for a little while longer, but by the time they were able to get him out, he was already dead.” Some of the injured firefighters did not return to duty for a year.
On 11/15/1880 death “came to more than a dozen men during the darkness of a cold night. The men died in a fierce fire in the north wing of Saint Peter (Minnesota) State Hospital. The fire began in the basement at about 7:00 p.m. The fire raged through the night and into the daylight hours of the next day. There was high praise for the men of the St. Peter Fire Company, Union Number 1, and for the men of Mankato Engine Company Superior Number 2 who fought the fire. The St. Peter firefighters “pulled their old-fashioned hand engines two miles over the prairie in the face of bitter, wintry blasts, and worked all night in the hope of saving a few precious, though clouded lives.” Initial work to get the men out of the North Wing had been difficult. Once they were outside, most of them made their way to the large barn on the hospital grounds. Others ran off in various directions, although they were very lightly clad. The North Wing burned throughout the night, and the fire had threatened to expand into other parts of the large building. It was decided to remove the women from their wing in another section of the hospital. The men who had taken shelter in the barn were removed to provide space for the women. Most of those men were loaded into wagons and brought to St. Peter. The jail, the public schools, churches, private homes, and the Nicollet, Commercial, and Northwestern hotels were used to shelter them. Most, if not all, of these patients, were brought back to the hospital around noon on the 16th. Many of the patients did not understand what had happened or what was happening. There was no panic. The patients appeared to be relatively calm, going about their business as if there was nothing unusual about the situation. Governor Pillsbury arrived to get a better understanding of the situation. Pillsbury indicated that reconstruction would begin as soon as possible. The fire was under control by 1:00 p.m. on the 16th. After the conflagration was over, there were forty-four of the inmates missing; some were returned the next day; the remains of eighteen bodies were found in the ruins, seven died from effects of injuries, and six were never accounted for.”
On 11/15/1973 the Stratford Apartments fire killed twenty-five and injured fifty-two in Los Angeles, California, in a 64-year-old apartment house that was described as a ‘furnace with a chimney’ The fire, started in a lobby sofa and extended up an open stair in the wood frame stucco three‐story structure, within 5 to 10 minutes, burning through thin-paneled apartment doors in the U-shaped building. “Many of the victims died in their beds or rooms, trapped by flames and smoke that spread rapidly through the building. Others were killed when they leaped from the windows of the upper floor in an attempt to escape the fire. Nine of the victims were children. The Stratford was under renovation to close the open staircase and comply with an ordinance passed by the City Council following the Ponet Square fire. That ordinance carried a four‐year moratorium on compliance.
On 11/15/1891 a Cleveland (Ohio) firefighter died as a major fire erupted in a commercial block and spread to ten other buildings in the downtown section of the city after becoming trapped under falling debris while working at the Scott & Foreman Company building.
On 11/15/1915 a Bronx, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died as a result of the severe smoke inhalation sustained November 6th, while operating at a fire.”
On 11/15/1923 a Columbus, Ohio firefighter “died as a result of injuries he sustained on November 11th, when he fell 30 feet from a ladder while operating at a fire.”
On 11/15/1984 a Phoenix, Arizona worker cleaning a toluene tank at a small petroleum bulk plant was overcome in the tank; during rescue operations, the power saw with a gasoline engine caused an explosion that killed one firefighter and injured sixteen others. The worker had died of asphyxiation and inhalation of toluene vapors.
On 11/15/2008 a Detroit, Michigan firefighter “responded to an incendiary fire in an abandoned house fire. He and several other firefighters were putting out hot spots in the attic. The roof collapsed trapping the firefighters. The firefighter was crushed by the debris. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries. The other firefighters managed to escape with minor injuries.”
On 11/15/2010 a fire in a 28-story high-rise building undergoing renovations that housed 156 families in Shanghai killed forty-two and injured over ninety. The building was built in the 1990s; the upper half of the building was beyond the reach of fire appliances, requiring firefighters to set up hoses on top of a nearby building.
On 11/15/1951 a fire at the Superior Sleeprite, 2219 S. Halsted, in Chicago, Illinois went to 5-11 Alarm & 3 Specials calls.
On 11/15/1911 the town of Renwick, Iowa was destroyed by fire.
On 11/15/1926 Dr. John L. Bryan (1926-2014) the founding Professor and Chair of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) at the University of Maryland, from the department’s initiation in 1956 until 1993 and granted the rank of Professor Emeritus, was born in Washington D.C. Under the “Prof” leadership, the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the U of M College Park evolved from a modest, one-person operation to a mature and vital program serving the fire protection needs of the nation. He was a mentor to his students, alumni, and the fire service; a member of SFPE since 1950 and a Fellow since 1989, who received the Fire Protection Person of the Year Award in 1977 and the Arthur B. Guise Medal in 1998. The John L. Bryan Mentor Award was created in his honor in 2007. He passed away on 10/14/2014 but has left a legacy in fire protection.