Today is “Black Friday,” the name “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia when it was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966 to describe the chaos caused by massive traffic jams, car accidents, and congested sidewalks that resulted from the shopping day after Thanksgiving. Contemporary use of the term now refers to it as the point in the year at which retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black”.
11/26/1978 an arson fire at the Holiday Inn-Northwest in the Town of Greece, 1525 West Ridge Road (near Rochester) New York killed ten people and injured thirty-four. The building constructed in 1963 had recently passed a fire inspection. The fire started on the first floor between the north and west wings around 2:30 a.m. near a closet that stored cleaning supplies and paper products. The fire spread rapidly through an open fire door. An uncommon highly flammable liquid accelerant was determined to have been used to start the fire inside a storage cupboard under the first-floor stairwell.
11/26/1952 fourteen women and children perished in a fire that swept a three-story brick 56-year-old building at the Huntington State Hospital, a mental institution that housed 275 patients in Huntington, WV. The fire started in the basement shortly after 7:00 p.m. and burned for about two hours. The fire was confined to the first two floors, but thick acrid smoke traveled to the top level. A budget request for an appropriation to fireproof the building constructed in 1896 was cut out during the last legislative session.
11/26/1903 three Omaha, NE firefighters died from the injuries they sustained, on Thanksgiving Day, when they were operating at a fire at the Allen Brothers Warehouse, located at 902-14 Jones Street. They were caught in the collapse of the building.
11/26/1908 an Albany, NY firefighter “died as a result of injuries he suffered while operating at a fire.”
11/26/1922 a Harrisburg, PA firefighter died while operating at a “spectacular fire which destroyed the Capital Bedding Company at 14th & Howard Streets and severely damaged several other buildings. He was caught between two buildings and was overcome by smoke and flames before being rescued. As a result of inhaling superheated-gasses, it affected his lungs and heart and subsequently died suddenly of that affliction.”
11/26/1950 a Hendersonville, NC died after a pool table fell on his neck after he fell through a partially burned floor. “He answered his last call at a fire which occurred at 241 North Main Street. The fire was at the business known locally as “Brunswick Lunch.” While working at the scene, he fell through the floor which had partially burned through during the fire. After falling through the floor, a pool table also fell through the floor striking him in the neck. He died of his injuries.”
11/26/1954 a Philadelphia, PA firefighter “died after collapsing while operating at a basement fire at 1001 S. Bouvier St. He was taken to Graduate Hospital where he was pronounced dead.”
11/26/1957 a Bronx, New York (FDNY) firefighter died of smoke inhalation while operating at a two-alarm fire.
11/26/1988 a Flower Hill, Long Island, New York firefighter died in an arson fire while searching an apartment on Main Street after he became trapped and ran out of air.
11/26/2014 a coal mine fire left at least twenty-six dead and fifty miners injured in the Liaoning province of northeastern China. Caused by a 1:00 a.m. minor earthquake, magnitude 1.6, resulting in airborne coal dust ignited by a spark that ripped through the shaft. The mine opened in 1987 and produced 1.5 million tons of coal annually.
11/26/2012 a fire at a German workshop for the disabled killed fourteen people and injured eight others; after a fire broke out at a workshop for either mental or physically disabled people in Germany’s Black Forest region, near the city of Freiburg. The center run by a charity usually had around 120 people in a variety of jobs including metalwork, woodwork, and electrical installation.
11/26/1983 around 11:13 a.m. a series of explosions and fires at the New York Pyrotechnics Products Company plant in Brookhaven New York killed two and injured twenty-four. A lack of adequate separation between buildings, trailers, and vehicles and the quantity of pyrotechnics loaded permitted the initial explosion and fire to initiate several other explosions and fires which extended to buildings, trailers, and vehicles throughout the facility.
11/26/1980 in Indian Trail, NC a series of fiery explosions ripped through a chemical plant injuring fifty-five, five of them critically, and hospitalizing twenty-five. About 300 people, mostly women, were employed at the Radiator Specialty Company plant. The explosions apparently started on an assembly line at the. The company manufactures a variety of chemicals, many in aerosol cans.
11/26/1979 a Pakistani International B-707 in-flight fire killed 156, Saudi Arabia.
11/26/1965 the National Guard Armory in Keokuk, IA gas explosion and flash fire killed seven and injured most of the sixty to seventy persons in the building tragically ending a gala Thanksgiving eve square dance. The explosion originated in the basement in the area of the gas furnace.
11/26/1957 a five-alarm fire heavily damaged the Tabernacle Baptist Church at 17th and Wells in Milwaukee WI.
11/26/1936 in Fort Lee, NJ a 35-year-old wooden structure nightclub atop the Palisades overlooking New York City was destroyed by a rapidly moving fire.
11/26/1921 the Augusta, GA business district was destroyed by fire.
11/26/1897 a freight house and all the contents were destroyed by a fire that spread from the Clubb’s lumber yard; the Louisville and Nashville Railroad freight house that was filled to the roof with merchandise in Pensacola, FL.
11/26/1891 the St. Albans, VT conflagration destroyed the business district.