2/21/1897 a Hartford, CT firefighter “died of the injuries he sustained while operating at Box 26.”
2/21/1899 a Milwaukee, WI firefighter was killed at Wisconsin Chair Company fire, in Port Washington, WI. “The Wisconsin Chair Company’s Entire Plant and six business and residence blocks were totally destroyed; thirty families were made homeless and destitute. Eight-hundred people were thrown out of work. The needy were being cared for temporarily. A Serious Blow to City’s Progress was a story from the Port Washington Star: ‘Last Sunday evening (February 19, 1899) at 9:15 o’clock fire was discovered in the veneering works of the Wisconsin Chair Company’s factory and before morning the entire plant of that corporation and also six entire blocks of business houses and residences were a mass of smoldering ruins. The burned district extends from Grand Avenue on the south to Pier Street on the north, and from Franklin Street east to the lake. The brick buildings on the east side of Franklin Street were saved, and one or two dwellings in the northern portion of the fire swept district. Heroic efforts on the part of our firefighters and citizens had so far gotten the fire under control that at 10:30 o’clock it was thought the flames would be confined to the block bounded by Main, Franklin Street, Grand Avenue, and the harbor, but at that moment the fire walls of the four-story veneering works, collapsed, burying and crushing the big force pumps nearby from which the water supply was had. About the same time our little steam engine became disabled by overstraining, and our people were helpless. When this fact was realized the workers became paralyzed. Despair seized upon everybody and a scene of wild disorder and confusion ensued. There was a mad rush for the houses in the threatened district, and soon the streets were thronged with excited people bearing in their arms furniture, articles of wearing apparel, household goods of every description, etc. Everywhere in the streets and on sidewalks, in yards and alleys, in houses and barns outside the threatened district, household goods were promiscuously strewed about. Every kind of vehicle was pressed into service and goods hurriedly conveyed to a safe spot. For six hours it seemed as though the entire city was doomed to destruction and no one within a half dozen blocks surrounding hesitated to pack up their valuables and move out.’ Meanwhile, and as soon as the disaster to the force pumps and engine became known, the Mayor wired Milwaukee and Sheboygan for aid. Prompt response was given and two companies, 4 and 10, from Milwaukee and a company from Sheboygan were sent. They arrived here between 11 and 12 o’clock and by excellent work confined the conflagration within the limits above stated. At 6 o’clock Monday morning the fire had been so far subdued that it was decided to send home the Sheboygan company. Milwaukee company No. 4 was sent home at 8 o’clock, while No. 10 remained and worked among the ruins until noon. No cause for the origin of the fire has yet been learned although the general supposition is that it caught fire from overheated steam pipes… One of the saddest incidents of the whole fire was the accidents that befell two firefighters. Two Milwaukee firefighters from Engine Company 4, were working among the ruins at 3:30 o’clock when a chimney collapsed and fell on the company which was pouring water on the fire. The flames in that vicinity had been almost entirely subdued and the collapse came so suddenly that the firefighters could not get away. The two Milwaukee firefighters and a local volunteer firefighter were caught in the debris. The two unfortunate men were picked up and carried into a store close by. The volunteer firefighter’s leg was severely bruised, but he was able to go home. The two Milwaukee firefighters were removed to the Wilson House where Doctors attended them. It was found that one of the firefighter’s spine was injured, but his condition was not regarded as serious. The other firefighter was not so fortunate. His spine was broken just below the base of the head and his body below his neck paralyzed. His condition was so serious that Priest from the Catholic church was called to administer the last rites of the church. The 8 o’clock train from Milwaukee Monday morning brought out his brother, a doctor, and his wife and her brother-in-law, a patrolman. She gave directions for her husband’s removal to the depot. It was decided to take both men to Milwaukee on the 10 o’clock train and shortly before that hour the firefighters were carried down-stairs. A large crowd watched the proceedings and at the depot when the train arrived. The wounded men were placed in the baggage car on their cots. The injured firefighters had been made as comfortable as possible for the journey. Cots having been placed in a baggage car in order that the sufferers might not be disturbed by other passengers. At the Milwaukee depot ambulances were in waiting, and seriously injured firefighter was taken to St. Mary’s hospital. The not so seriously injured firefighter was unwilling to go to the hospital, and was taken to his home… Death relieved the brave seriously injured fellow from his sufferings at 2:30 o’clock Tuesday morning. He was conscious up to a short time previous to his death and suffered greatly…”
2/21/1917 a Memphis, TN firefighter “died while operating at a fire involving several dwellings, he died as a result of smoke inhalation. He had just returned to duty after battling a case of pneumonia and it was believed that the weakened condition of his lungs might have contributed to his death from the smoke.”
2/21/1919 a Newport, KY firefighter “died after suffering the effects of pneumonia which he received while operating at a fire on February 18, 1919.”
2/21/1932 a Portland, ME firefighter “died in the performance of his duties, while operating at a two-alarm fire in a commercial building.”
2/21/1936 a Baltimore, MD firefighter died while fighting a fire on the Norwegian freighter Gisla loaded with 5,000 tons of highly flammable and explosive nitrate. “The six-alarm fire burned out of control for three hours as numerous explosions rocked the vessel. While a crew of firefighters directed a stream of water into a hold of the burning ship. Suddenly, an explosion engulfed the men in clouds of nitrate fumes and smoke, forcing them to retreat to safety on shore. As a firefighter made sure he was the last man off the ship, he heard a scream. As he groped through the heavy smoke, he fell over the body of a firefighter and helped him sit up, which saved his life. As the smoke cleared for just a minute, another firefighter was found lying face down, unconscious, in a pool of water. He was carried to shore where he was found to be dead. Apparently, a powerful bow gun of one of the fireboats operating there struck the two men. It took firefighters 16 hours to bring the fire under control.”
2/21/1971 a Forest River, IL firefighter “suffered a fatal heart attack while fighting a restaurant/dance hall fire in Wheeling, Illinois. The firefighter responded to the fire with the Forest River Fire Department, one of several mutual aid departments called to the incident. During the fire, he was overcome by smoke, but he returned to active firefighting duties after a short break. Following the fire, he collapsed while rolling up fire hose, and died from a heart attack shortly thereafter.”
2/21/2006 two Lawrence County, Alabama firefighters died at a working commercial structure fire. Just before 10:00 p.m., “they were operating under mop-up operations manning a hose at the outside front of the building, putting water on hot spots inside when the wall unexpectedly collapsed, trapping three firefighters. One firefighter was removed from the debris alive; two were pronounced dead at the scene.”
2/21/2015 a Houston, TX firefighter “fell ill shortly after responding to a residential structure fire with reports of people trapped inside. He was operating inside of the structure with other firefighters when he began experiencing a medical emergency. He was able to walk out of the burning building under his own power, but collapsed outside shortly thereafter and went into cardiac arrest. He was immediately treated by fellow responders and transported to Memorial Herman Hospital where he succumbed to his injury two days later.”
2/21/1985 the NY Bronze Powders Company 500,000-square-foot warehouse was destroyed by fire and one was killed in Elizabeth, NJ when “four men were working in a building where the nitrocellulose was packaged when a 55-gallon drum of the material exploded.” Nitrocellulose is a material used in smokeless gunpowder and in various lacquers and polishes. “Fireballs rose 300 feet into the night sky and tens of thousands of exploding aerosol cans of paint whizzed through the smoke and flames at the eastern end of the warehouse.”
2/21/2015 a three-alarm fire around 4:10 p.m. in San Francisco’s Castro District burned two buildings and displaced a dozen people started in a three-story two-unit apartment building.
2/21/1971 a fire at Marywood College in Dunmore, PA in the 71-year-old four-story brick building injured nine.
2/21/1922 a number of buildings in the town of Brownsville, PA were destroyed by fire that started around 5:00 a.m. in an upper floor of the Sharpnack & Connelly building. This was the second fire in the same location within a few hours.
2/21/1914 the Hartford, CT Union Station of the New Haven Railroad train depot was destroyed by fire. All train service was interrupted.
2/21/1903 two blocks of Main Street in Barre, VT were destroyed by fire that started in the basement of the new Currier Block on Main Street with “the thermometer standing at 16 degrees below zero.”
2/21/1900 a Vergennes, VT Manufacturing Co was destroyed by fire.
2/21/1870 near Cairo, IL and about fifty miles above Memphis the Steamer Emma No. 3 burned on a snag in the river left “many dead.”