FIREFIGHTER HISTORY 11/29

On 11/29/1988 six firefighters, two entire pumper companies, lost their lives in a construction site explosion while they were extinguishing a fire in Kansas City, Missouri. The fire involved a trailer/magazine containing a blasting mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil and probably had no markings or placards indicating their contents. At 3:40 a.m. they received a call reporting a pickup truck fire. An engine company was dispatched with three firefighters; the dispatcher indicated the potential for explosives. The initial company reported that there were two separate fires at that location and requested assistance. A second engine company with three firefighters and a battalion chief was dispatched. After extinguishment of the pickup truck fire, the first engine company joined the second engine company, at the trailer and they were preparing to attack the fire when the explosion occurred, killing six firefighters.  About forty minutes later, a second explosion involving the contents of a different trailer occurred without additional casualties. “The Kansas City Fire Department later found that the first explosion involved a trailer/magazine with a split load. One end had approximately 3,500 lbs. of an ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixture. The remainder of the load was approximately 17,000 lbs. of an ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixture with 5% aluminum pellets. The second explosion was a trailer/magazine loaded with approximately 1,000 30-lb. “socks” of an ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixture with 5% aluminum pellets.” … “While operating at a fire in a pick-up truck, firefighters noticed smoke coming from a semi-trailer parked at a highway construction site. An additional pumper was called, and both units proceeded to check out the fire. As the firefighters approached one of the two, parked trailers, a massive explosion occurred. Six firefighters from Pumper 30 and 41 were killed instantly and the two pumpers were torn to shreds. A battalion chief’s car was knocked back 25 feet as he responded. A short time later, another powerful explosion rocked the area when the second trailer exploded. The trailers were loaded with over 45,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, and the explosions left two, 35 X 8-foot craters, and a 15 X 4-foot crater in the ground. The burning pick-up truck belonged to two guards who saw two suspicious men at the site and went to investigate. When they came back, they found their pick-up truck on fire and called the fire department. As firefighters were operating there, another fire was set in one of the trailers. The case remained unsolved until June 1996, when four men and a woman were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of using fire to destroy life and property, and in July 1997, they were all sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole.”

On 11/29/1898 an Albany, New York firefighter “died as a result of asphyxiation due to fumes he inhaled.”

On 11/29/1902 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter was killed when he fell forty feet from the fourth-floor fire escape while operating at a fire in a fully involved four-story-brick tenement.

On 11/29/1906 a Lynchburg, Virginia firefighter “died as a result of smoke inhalation from fighting a fire at 907 Main Street.”

On 11/29/1907 a Downers Grove, Illinois firefighter suffered fatal burn injuries when the livery stable that housed the fire department horses caught fire. Eight horses were also killed in the fire.

On 11/29/1929 a Boston, Massachusetts firefighter “died of smoke inhalation and burns received at 568 Columbus Avenue. The two-alarm fire, Box 221, (Massachusetts & Columbus Avenues), sounded at 2:49 a.m. and 2:51. The firefighter was overcome by smoke and fumes while he was searching for victims. Engine 32 was covering in the South End due to a 4-alarm fire in a church on Walnut Avenue, Roxbury, in which four civilians perished.”

On 11/29/1930 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died of smoke inhalation while operating at a two-alarm fire.”

On 11/29/1930 a North Tonawanda, New York firefighter was killed when a gas explosion blew a sewing machine through the side of the dwelling and struck him in the head.

On 11/29/1947 two Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighters “died as a result of injuries they sustained the previous day when the roof they were operating on collapsed during a five-alarm fire.”

On 11/29/2003 a Lancaster, Massachusetts firefighter died in a structure fire involving a 2-½ story wood balloon frame residential building that contained multiple apartments with two additional 1-½ story buildings attached to the rear of the main building. A crew advanced an attack line into the basement of the structure. After a series of explosions, the firefighters were forced to leave the building. Once outside, a headcount was completed, and a firefighter was discovered missing. Three other firefighters were injured in the fire. The cause of the fire was identified as the overheating of a power strip and extension cord in the basement.

On 11/29/1987 a wedding reception fire killed eleven on Margarita Island, Venezuela.

On 11/29/1935 a Fort Worth, Texas gas stove explosion in an apartment building killed six and injured eleven that was caused by leaky connections on a gas stove.

On 11/29/1930 in Lutie, Oklahoma a mine explosion killed thirteen; believed to have been caused by ignited gas.

On 11/29/1915 half the town of Avalon, Catalina Island, California, “the gem of the Pacific,” was destroyed by an incendiary fire that consumed the Hotel Metropole, a well-known tourist hotel on the Pacific coast, other hotels, over one hundred tents, and cottages and extended to the wharf. The fire started in the Grandview Hotel around 3:45 a.m. and rapidly spread to light wooden structures, and extended to the three-story Hotel Metropole and onto the northern part of the business section, lying between the Grandview Hotel and the Hotel Metropole. “The Tuna Club, a mecca of fishermen from all parts of the world, is a blackened ruin.”

On 11/29/1902 a boiler explosion killed thirteen shortly after 10:00 a.m. at the Swift and Company Plant in the Cattle District of Chicago, Illinois when the “huge boilers were sent through the roof of the structure and hurled hundreds of feet.”  “One inspector declared that the explosion had been caused by cold water injected into the boiler, but a majority of the investigators held the opinion that the catastrophe had been caused by low water.”

On 11/29/1883 the Windsor Theatre in New York City, New York was destroyed by fire shortly before midnight, and “flames communicated with several adjoining buildings. The fire originated between the first floor and basement, under the main stairway”

On 11/29/1960 a train and school bus accident left sixteen dead in Lamont, Alberta.

On 11/29/1991 a dust storm caused a massive pileup in California.

On 11/29/1942 Coffee rationing began during World War II