2/3/1939 nine Syracuse, NY firefighters were trapped and died in the collapse of a burning office building, buried under tons of wreckage. “The fire was discovered at 1:50 a.m. Scores of fire companies were called out by a general alarm, poured streams of water into the building for 45 minutes before the flames were brought under control. Collapse of the roof occurred at about 4:00 a.m. as firefighter poked through the smoke-filled upper floors. The wrecked building is located on East Genesee Street, near the heart of the business district and a block off Salina Street, main thoroughfare of the city. The first floor was occupied by a restaurant, while the upper floors were untenanted. For a time, adjoining structures were threatened by a westerly wind which showered them with sparks. The Fire Marshall said firewalls apparently saved buildings immediately adjoining… Rescue crews searched the smoking ruins of a five-story brick office building at dawn for nine firefighters trapped when the roof of the fire-swept structure collapsed. A firefighter, rescued an hour after the collapse, was taken to a hospital critically injured. Fire department officials reported the missing men were on the third floor of the building, when the roof collapsed with a roar like an explosion, carrying them into the cellar under a mass of falling wreckage. Rescue efforts were hindered by fear that the work of digging in the ruins might bring down one of the walls of the ruined building. All ambulances in the city were dispatched to the scene. One victim was removed from the wreckage through a sidewalk grating.”
2/3/1863 two Manhattan, New York firefighters died while operating at a major fire in a cracker bakery, they were crushed to death when they were caught under a collapsing wall. A third firefighter was seriously injured in the collapse.
2/4/1903 a Milwaukee, WI firefighters “died from the effects of inhaling acid fumes at the Schwaab Stamp & Seal Company at an acid spill. “During the afternoon, firefighters were called to the Schwaab Stamp and Seal Company factory after an acid carboy broke on the second floor, filling the building with fumes. Firefighters spent time venting the building, removing the carboy, and cleaning up the spill with sawdust. Damage to the building was minor. By early evening, one firefighter complained of feeling ill at quarters and went to bed. A dozen other men who were at the scene began to complain of choking and breathing difficulties also. Their condition worsened and he one firefighter died seven hours after breathing in the acid fumes, his lungs fatally seared by the caustic effects of the acid. At least nine other members were also overcome by the fumes.”
2/3/1924 a Davenport, IA firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained when a wall had collapsed and had fallen on him at a fire he was operating at, at 901 East River Street.”
2/3/1925 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died after arriving fire crews “found very heavy smoke showing from the cellar of a six-story brick loft building. The stubborn fire went to three alarms as firefighters attempted to get to the seat of the blaze. At the height of the fire, holes were cut in the first floor, and a dozen men entered the smoke-filled basement. All of the men had to be carried out. One could not be revived at the scene and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead of smoke inhalation.”
2/3/1945 Chicago, IL firefighter “died from asphyxiation at 53 E. Illinois.”
2/3/1946 two Boston, MA firefighters “died as a result of a roof collapse at the Irish-American Club, 384-388 West Broadway, South Boston, a three-alarm fire, Box 7221, (West Broadway & ‘E’ Street).”
2/3/1969 a Houston, Texas firefighter “was fighting a house fire at 3631 Underwood. The fire at this location had been extinguished and overhaul was taking place to clean up and make sure the fire was out. He and his crew were up on the roof of the structure pulling shingles off when suddenly he fell unconscious. The district chief, who was on the scene, went up a ladder and brought the stricken firefighter down over his shoulder. The firefighters on the ground worked feverishly to save him with a new lifesaving technique called CPR. He was transported to Methodist Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.”
2/3/1971 a New Bedford, MA firefighter died “while moving a hoseline on the roof during a fire. The firefighter suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died a short time later.”
2/3/1973 a Houston, Texas firefighter “suffered a fatal heart attack at an apartment fire at 1400 Richmond. The blaze was deep-seated when the fire fighters arrived, producing an extremely large amount of smoke and heat. He and his crew were attacking the fire from within one of the apartments when suddenly the firefighter emerged from the building totally exhausted. Shortly afterward, he complained of a chest pain, dropped to his knees, and passed out. The men at the scene and the ambulance crew tried unsuccessfully to revive him.”
2/3/1985 a Castle Rock, CO firefighter died while fighting a wildland fire where he was cutting the line when he and his dozer were overrun. The fire was burning during severe drought conditions and it spotted across the fireline.
2/3/1988 a Lawrence Township, Indiana firefighter died after he responded to a fire that had occurred in the basement of a single-family residence due to an overheated furnace. He entered the first-floor kitchen area, the floor collapsed, plunging him into the blazing basement. Due to the heavy volume of fire in the basement, he could not be rescued immediately, and he died in the fire.
2/3/1989 a Brooklyn, New York firefighter died while operating at four-story brick tenement at 217 Van Brunt Street. “On arrival, firefighters found heavy fire and smoke showing from the second floor of an occupied building with people trapped. As the outside vent man, he climbed the fire escape and entered a third-floor window to search for possible trapped occupants. Shortly after he went in the window, the room flashed over, knocking him down and engulfing the in flames.”
2/3/1998 a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter died after he “responded to a fire in a rowhouse dwelling. He carried a sixteen-foot portable ladder to the rear of the structure, raised the ladder, broke out windows, climbed the ladder, and entered a bedroom. Other firefighters who ascended the ladder reported seeing him in the bedroom. He ordered them to proceed into the structure and continue ventilation. When the firefighters returned to the bedroom, they found him face down and unresponsive; he was not wearing an SCBA. The cause of the fire was ruled accidental resulting from a portable kerosene heater placed too close to combustibles.”
2/3/1971 Thiokol Chemical Plant fire killed twenty-nine in Woodbine, GA. The factory, a complex of 36 buildings, was working on a U. S. Army contract for “trip flares” that contained magnesium suddenly exploded, leveling one building and damaged three others and started a wildland fire that burned 200 acres of timber.
2/3/1971 a house fire in Keokuk, IA killed a mother and three children, five other children were able to escape with minor injuries. The fire started from a cigarette in the early morning.
2/3/1963 on “a cold morning, a robbery/arson would result in a major response from the Youngstown, Ohio Fire Department. A man entered the lobby of the Union National Bank Building around 1:00 a.m. He told the night elevator operator that he needed to go to the Youngstown Club located on the 13th-floor of the building to pick up some money that was left for him. The man was told the club was closed. The man then brandished a gun and forced the night elevator operator to take him up to the 13th-floor. The man then blindfolded and tied up the elevator operator and ransacked the club’s offices… At 1:14 a.m. fire companies were dispatched. Upon arrival, flames could be seen from the 13th and 14th floors of the 14-story high-rise. Due to volume of fire, 10-degree F temperatures, and gusty winds a 2nd-alarm was called at 1:15 and a General Alarm at 1:18. Eighty-two firefighters from 15 stations converged on the downtown high-rise… Firefighters began trying to reach the seat of the fire which by now had spread to the 11th through 13th floors. Standpipes with hose designed for firefighters to use in an emergency were found to be dried out and began bursting on the 12th -14th floors when pumpers supplied water pressure through the system. As a result, 2,500 foot of 1-½ inch hose was carried up to the 11th floor via the fire escapes to provide water. At the time of the fire, Youngstown Fire Department only had 30 air packs available for the entire department. Firefighters experienced heavy smoke conditions. Eight firefighters were injured with most being treated for smoke inhalation…Firefighters eventually were able to extinguish the flames and most companies were cleared from the scene by 5:00 a.m. The last fire companies left the scene 15 hours after the incident began.”
2/3/1910 the high school with about 400 students in Groesbeck, TX was destroyed by fire at 11:00 a.m.
2/3/1902 New Milford, CT the main building of the Bridgeport Wood Finishing Company was destroyed by fire that started about 7:00 p.m.
2/3/1880 Columbia, SC a cabin fire on a plantation killed nine. “The chimney, a crude affair, made of clay and sticks, is supposed to have ignited… The cabin had but one door and no windows.”
2/3/1860 Brooklyn, NY a boiler explosion at the Ames & Moulton’s Hat Factory killed six, injured fifteen and demolition of a great portion of the building around 7:30 a.m.
2/3/1860 Burlington, Iowa conflagration started about 4:00 a.m. in the 3-story hardware store on the south side of Jefferson Street, between Main and Front Streets. Driven by a strong wind from the north fire communicated to the roof of the three-story brick building occupied by the grocery store, on Main Street.
2/3/1959 “The Day the Music Died” when rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered plane crashes in Iowa.