FIREFIGHTER HISTORY 2/11

On 2/11/1876 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died as a result of injuries sustained February 8th, when he was caught under a collapsing wall while operating at a fire. Two firefighters were killed in the collapse on February 8th.”

On 2/11/1903 a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter died after falling from a roof at American Street.

On 2/11/1908 a Detroit, Michigan firefighter died of injuries he sustained after a wall collapsed.

On 2/11/1925 a Fort Lee, New Jersey firefighter “died as a result of critical injuries sustained February 7th, when he was caught under a collapsing wall after an explosion occurred at a fire in a film laboratory, collapsing the building. Ten other firefighters were injured in the blast and resulting collapse.”

On 2/11/1926 a South Bend, Indiana firefighter died after “a fire that started in the Brandon-Durrell Company store at 131-133 S. Michigan Street and destroyed a square block before it was discovered. Ten firms were demolished. While battling the flames in this 5-alarm fire, the firefighter fell off a roof and was killed.”

On 2/11/1930 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died when “the 526-foot-long freighter, “S.S. Muenchen,” that had a cargo of nitrate of potash, shellac, and newsprint, was racked by a series of explosions, one of which blew the pilothouse off the fireboat “Willet,” designated as Engine 86. He was the pilot of the boat, was thrown into the river by the blast, and drowned. Several other firefighters were also knocked into the water. More than 50 firefighters were overcome and injured while battling the five-alarm blaze. Later, a new fireboat would be named in his honor.”

On 2/11/1931 a Richmond, Indiana firefighter “died while operating at a fire in a residence on Liberty Avenue. Shortly after making his way to the attic the firefighter was overcome by smoke and collapsed. He was carried outside, and resuscitation efforts were initiated but he died a short time later.”

On 2/11/1956 a Trenton, New Jersey firefighter died while operating at a fire in the Hotel Penn at 31 South Clinton Avenue. He slipped off a ladder and plunged four stories to his death.

On 2/11/1956 an Eau Clair, Wisconsin firefighter died in a fire at Peters Meat Products, 603 Third Street. He appeared to have run out of air inside a storeroom.

On 2/11/1996 a Ridgefield, New Jersey firefighter “died of an apparent heart attack after arriving on the scene of a small fire in a laundromat. The firefighter experienced head trauma when he fell on the scene and knocked his head against the fire engine. This trauma, in turn, resulted in cardiac arrest.”

On 2/11/1998 two Chicago, Illinois firefighters died at a structural fire in a tire shop. “No visible fire was encountered, there was no excessive heat, and only light smoke was found in most of the building with heavier smoke in the shop area. Ten firefighters were in the interior of the structure when an event that has been described as a flashover or backdraft occurred. The firefighters were disoriented by the effects of the backdraft. Some were able to escape but two firefighters were trapped in the structure. A garage door that self-operated due to fire exposure may have introduced oxygen into the fire area and may have been a factor in the backdraft. The exit efforts of firefighters were complicated by congestion in the building. Within minutes of the backdraft, the building was completely involved in the fire, and rescue efforts were impossible. Both firefighters died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to inhalation of smoke and soot. Around 10:24 p.m., the Chicago Fire Department received a call from the occupant of a private residence at the rear of a commercial tire service center, at 10611 S Western. The caller stated there was a fire in the interior of the building. Above the parts room was a cockloft where tires, Christmas decorations, and miscellaneous items were stored (believed to be the area of origin of the fire). The cockloft was accessible from the service area. The roof system of the service area was constructed of open wooden bow-string trusses, with unprotected polystyrene insulation glued to the underside. The exterior of the roof was a rubberized material, which had recently been repaired.”

On 2/11/2002 a Dallas, Texas firefighter died at a “vacant apartment building fire that was undergoing renovation. He and the members of his crew had checked for fire extension on the second floor of the southwest wing. After confirming that the attic of the involved wing and the attic of the southwest wind were not connected, a decision was made to deploy an additional handline. The crew returned to the ground floor and began to walk through a breezeway to a nearby engine company. As they neared the end of the breezeway, a collapse occurred; two firefighters were buried. One was freed from the rubble after some difficulty, but the whereabouts of the second firefighter could not be confirmed. The elapsed time from the collapse to the removal of the firefighter from the rubble was approximately 28 minutes. The fire was caused by the careless use of a construction torch. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma and traumatic asphyxiation.”

On 2/11/2015 a Macon, Bibb County, Georgia firefighter died, and five other firefighters were injured after a structural collapse occurred while fire crews were operating inside a burning residential structure.

On 2/11/2016 a Hillsborough, New Jersey warehouse fire caused several million dollars in damages that started about 3:50 p.m. and burned through the night before it was contained. Hot spots were still being put out on February 13th. The five-alarm fire drew more than 30 different fire companies from five counties and involved more than 200 emergency vehicles.

On 2/11/2016 fifty-two inmates were killed and twelve injured in a brutal riot and massive fire between two rival factions at the Topo Chico prison in northern Mexico. The fight involved a faction led by a member of the infamous Zetas drug cartel. The fire started about 12:30 a.m. amid shouts and sounds of explosions, as a thick cloud of smoke rose, apparently from burning mattresses.

On 2/11/1967 an early morning Waterville, Maine fire destroyed the 50-year-old Haines Theater downtown about an hour after the last show had let out. “The first indication of the fire came when a tremendous explosion knocked out the glass in the four front doors as well as panes in three large windows directly above the doors and marquee. Flames shot out almost the width of the street.”

On 2/11/1965 the Madrid-Barcelona Express train fire killed thirty-four in Zaragoza, Spain.

On 2/11/1929 an explosion at the Hercules Powder Plant in Pinole, California killed three and injured one when 1500 pounds of gelatine in packing shed No. 4 exploded and shot a pillar of flame and smoke thousands of feet into the air shortly after 11:00 a.m.

On 2/11/1916 the Jefferson & Clearfield Coal & Iron Company Mine No. 2 explosion killed twenty-five around 3:25 p.m. about one mile from the main entrance near Ernest, Pennsylvania. The miners were changing shifts at the time of the accident.

On 2/11/1907 a fire destroyed the Mowry Hotel with eighty-family suites and several single apartments in Syracuse, New York at 12:45 a.m.

On 2/11/1907 about 150 people died when the 3-masted schooner Harry Knowlton and the Joy Line steamer Larchmont, collided off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.

On 2/11/1904 a gasoline stove fire killed one in a 3-story apartment building at Fifteenth and Harrison Streets Kansas City, Missouri.

On 2/11/1894 the Hopkins County Courthouse in Sulphur Springs, Texas was destroyed by fire around 12:30 a.m. in the Williamson block on the east side of the square that spread to the courthouse and jail on the north side.