FIREFIGHTER HISTORY 2/4

On 2/4/1976 the “Cermak House Nursing Home in Cicero, Illinois fire caused by faulty wiring on a table lamp killed six and injured twenty-seven mostly elderly patients. The 600‐bed Cermak House was occupied by about 475 patients, but only those in the immediate area of the blaze were evacuated because of equipment that blocked the flames from spreading. “A smoke detector sent in the alarm. Doors automatically closed confining the fire and smoke to just a section of the floor,” This was the second fatal nursing home fire in the Chicago area in five days.”

On 2/4/1916 a four-story Brooklyn, New York house fire killed six women at 243 Hancock Street, “one of the most fashionable sections of Brooklyn.” “The fire which destroyed the home of Mrs. Tag the widow of the President of the Herman Savings Bank escaped, but two of her daughters were among those who perished. The fire is attributed to the defective insulation of electric wiring.”

On 2/4/1902 seven Saint Louis, Missouri firefighters were “killed in a fire at the American Tent and Awning Company at 312-316 Chestnut Avenue. The wall of the building collapsed on the firefighters just as they were satisfied the blaze was under control.”

On 2/4/1968 ten guests “died during a fire in the Roosevelt Hotel, a cheap “flop-House” type hotel at 1147 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Many guests escaped and others needed to be rescued by firefighters, others made it via ladders to the Dover Station of the MBTA which was opposite the hotel. On a cold night, Box 1632, went to 5 alarms plus extra calls for ladder companies around 3:49 a.m.”

On 2/4/1916 the Atlantic City, New Jersey “Overbrook Hotel (formerly Dunlop Hotel) fire left five dead and thirty injured that destroyed the building and extended to twenty frame houses in the vicinity of the hotel at Mount Vernon and Pacific Avenues. Firefighters were handicapped by a severe gale and were unable to prevent the flames from spreading. Firefighters suffered intensely from the cold as they fought the fire. Many were covered with ice and had to be replaced.”

On 2/4/1880 a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighter “died as a result of injuries sustained February 2nd, when he fell from the roof while operating at a two-alarm fire in a furniture factory.”

On 2/4/1885 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter was killed when he fell from a ladder and landed on his head while operating an alarm at 58 Park Place.

On 2/4/1900 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter, a member of the “Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol, was fatally injured at an industrial fire on North Green Street. He and three other members of Patrol 5 were operating on the first floor of the burning basket factory when the second floor collapsed on top of them. He was pulled from the wreckage by members of Chicago Fire Department Truck 10, and transported to Alexian Brothers Hospital, where he died from his injuries.”

On 2/4/1903 a Milwaukee, Wisconsin firefighter “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 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.”

On 2/4/1908 two Manhattan, New York (FDNY) died when a large safe crashed through the floor on top of them. The top four floors of a five-story dry goods loft were fully involved in a three-alarm fire.

On 2/4/1950 two Baltimore, Maryland firefighters died while “working fire in the cellar of a clothing outlet’s double five-story brick building. They were stretching a line down the rear stairs, when an explosion occurred, engulfing the two men in the fire. It was shortly after, that while a firefighter from Engine 26 was advancing a line into the rear entrance, he fell over the two bodies of his comrades. He called for help and the two fallen men were carried to the street, where all efforts to revive them proved unsuccessful.”

On 2/4/1961 a Bronx, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was critically injured at a fire when he was blown out of a third-floor window and landed on a picket fence. He sustained burns, cuts, and internal injuries and died the next day in Bronx Hospital.”

On 2/4/1996 an Avon, United Kingdom firefighter from the Speedwell Fire Station “was killed battling a huge fire at Leo’s supermarket in Staple hill.  The firefighter and her partner were caught in a flashover, as flames ripped through the supermarket. She was killed as a direct result of the intense heat and her body was found just a few yards from the exit.

On 2/4/2007 a Washington City, Pennsylvania firefighter died while operating at an old motorcycle shop fire. “He was a part of the first crew to arrive on the scene. Heavy black smoke was showing from the building. The victim and another firefighter advanced an attack line into the garage area of the structure. Additional handlines were deployed but the fire was not controlled. The incident commander made preparations for a switch to a defensive strategy when a structural collapse of an awning occurred and trapped the two firefighters in the rubble. An on-scene rapid intervention crew (RIC) was immediately deployed and removed both firefighters within 15 minutes of the collapse. One firefighter was transported to the hospital by ambulance by succumbed to his injuries. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation due to entrapment.”

On 2/4/2007 two Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada firefighters died, and four other firefighters were injured when they were trapped on the second floor of a burning home in the Saint Boniface area of Winnipeg.

On 2/4/2014 six members of the Buenos Aires, Argentina Federal Police’s firefighting unit, two emergency management office workers, and a volunteer firefighter died, and seven others were seriously injured in a documents warehouse fire that caused a collapse.

On 2/4/1977 two Chicago, Illinois elevated trains were wrecked in rear-end crash that killed eleven and injured 200 during rush hour in a snowstorm. Authorities speculated the cause was a failure of the automatic braking system or an electronic signal.

On 2/4/1957 a coal mine gas explosion in Bishop, Virginia & West Virginia killed thirty-seven of the about 184 men underground deep in the giant mine that burrows under the mountains of the Virginia-West Virginia line at 1:55 a.m.

On 2/4/1941 a locomotive boiler explosion in the rail yard injured twenty-five in Denver, Colorado.

On 2/4/1908 the Berlin, New Hampshire conflagration destroyed 8 commercial buildings with the temperature at 20 degrees below zero. The fire started in the basement of the largest structure, a four-story brick building, in the city in some excelsior. The telephone exchange was burned out during the fire.

On 2/4/1904 the Stamford, Connecticut town hall and most of the contents were destroyed by fire.

On 2/4/1904 a fire started in a defective flue that destroyed 2 houses at Jefferson Avenue and Pond Street in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Frozen fire hydrants hamper operations.

On 2/4/1891 a Jeanesville, Pennsylvania mine disaster killed forty at 10:50 a.m. when miners of J. C. Hayden & Company drilled a hole striking a vast body of water that flooded the mine.

On 2/4/1886 the Madison, South Dakota Normal College was destroyed by a fire that started in the basement at 8:00 p.m. in “one of the finest brick structures in Dakota’s.”

On 2/4/1850 a boiler explosion and ensuing fire killed fifty at Hague and Frankfort Streets New York City, New York at 8:00 a.m.

On 2/4/1965 Fire Technology began publication

On 2/4/1959 New York City, NY a plane crashed into the “fog-covered waters” of the East River that killed sixty-five of the seventy-three on board.