On 2/2/1978 the Wade Dump fire was “a spectacular general-alarm fire that involved the illegal three-acre ABM-Wade hazardous material dumpsite. Wade Dump was a rubber recycling facility and illegal industrial waste storage and disposal facility in Chester, Pennsylvania. It was located at 1 Flower Street on the western bank of the Delaware River just north of the Commodore Barry Bridge. From about 1950 to the early 1970s, the 3-acre site was the location of Eastern Rubber Reclaiming, a rubber recycling facility. The property owner, Melvin Wade, turned the site into an illegal industrial waste storage and disposal facility. ABM Disposal Company paid Wade $1.00 to $1.50 per 55-gallon drum to store industrial waste on his property. ABM Disposal was not regulated by the state and had a long criminal record of dumping abuses in the Philadelphia area. Wade accumulated 100 to 150 drums per week and eventually had more than 20,000 drums and 20 tank trucks full of chemical waste on the site. More than 3 million gallons of cyanide, benzene, toluene, sodium copper cyanide, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other chemicals were stored on the site along with thousands of tires. It was estimated that more than 100 different kinds of highly toxic chemicals, and several warehouses, were involved in the fire. During the fire, firefighters had their clothes and turnout gear literally eaten off their bodies by the chemicals burning in the fire. It took firefighters from several towns 18 hours to bring the fire under control. After the fire, forty-eight firefighters were treated for respiratory problems and skin rashes that lasted for months. In the first 10 years that followed, four firefighters, two police officers, a city highway worker, and a mailman, died of various cancers following the fire. The highway worker assisted in the cleanup and the mail carrier worked a route next to the dump. Another nine men were also suffering from various cancers. There are still those that are dealing with the effects to this day. A massive lawsuit was initiated against 50 companies whose products were identified at the dumpsite…” “Forty years later, the aftermath of the Wade Dump fire can be seen in federal legislation, hazardous material protocol for first responders, and the long-term health consequences for those who responded to the alarm for a presumed tire fire at Eastern Rubber Reclaiming Inc. What they found instead in the flames were tens of thousands of illegally stored 55-gallon drums of toxic waste exploding around them, eating away their boots and pants.”
On 2/2/1889 “firefighters found a leather factory in Buffalo, New York, fully involved in fire. The fire rapidly grew to general alarm proportions as it destroyed two factories, two hotels, and an entire city block. A firefighter was killed when he was caught under a collapsing wall and the Fire Chief suffered a nearly severed arm due to falling glass. Ladder 1’s aerial ladder truck was also destroyed in the collapse.”
On 2/2/1900 a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter died from smoke inhalation at 17-19 S. 6th Street.
On 2/2/1924 a Chicago, Illinois died while fighting a fire at John M. Smythe & Company at 1016 West Madison Street. “Five floors of the six-story warehouse were engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene. He was operating from a third-story fire escape when the fire escape collapsed, and he fell three stories to the sidewalk below.”
On 2/2/1947 a Minneapolis, Minnesota firefighter “died of injuries sustained at a fire in the Hull-Dobbs Auto Sales garage at 2610 Hennepin Avenue South on January 23, 1947. He was on the building’s first floor cutting holes to get at flames in the basement when the floor suddenly collapsed. Flames and smoke prevented rescuers from reaching him for more than an hour. He was found seriously injured and died 10 days later. Three firefighters died on the day of the fire.”
On 2/ 2/1960 a San Francisco, California firefighter “died while operating at a dwelling fire.”
On 2/2/1988 a Buffalo, New York firefighter was killed when he was caught under a collapsing wall while operating at a fire.
On 2/2/2016 a huge fire in a Gazipur, Bangladesh broke out at a sweater factory. The factory was a major supplier to US retailers. Fortunately, most of the factory’s 6,000 workers were not yet on the premises. The fire started around 7:00 am.
On 2/2/1973 the Coast to Coast Hardware store explosion and fire killed thirteen in Eagle Grove, Iowa around 6:18 p.m. A gas explosion destroyed the store and adjoining café. A witness smelled gas before the explosion.
On 2/2/1922 a gas explosion at the Frick Coke Company along the Monongahela River in Gates, Pennsylvania killed twenty-five at 1:30 a.m.
On 2/2/1913 the York, Nebraska conflagration.
On 2/2/1902 nearly all of Waterbury’s (Connecticut) downtown district was destroyed by one of the worst fires in the city’s history.
On 2/2/1890 a house fire killed the wife, a daughter, and a “servant” and injured the Secretary of the Navy Tracy at 7:00 a.m. in his Washington, D.C. home.
On 2/2/1890, around 6:00 a.m., “a fire at 261-263 North St, Box 9, Boston, Massachusetts killed ten Italian immigrants, five others would die in the hospital, one also died from suffocation, and many others were rescued by firefighters.”
On 2/2/1889 a towboat boiler explosion killed three at 1:15 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
On 2/2/1887 the 1st Groundhog Day was celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania; rooted in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when the clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The Germans expanded the tradition of selecting an animal, the hedgehog, as a means of predicting the weather. When immigrants settled in Pennsylvania, they switched to the groundhog… Marmot Day, a group of large squirrel-like animals that includes groundhogs, woodchucks, and ground squirrels, was celebrated in Alaska.