2/5/1898 six Boston, MA firefighters died in a building collapse while fighting a three-alarm fire in the George Bent Bedding Company at 116-126 Merrimac Street. Around 3:55 a.m. Box 412, Causeway and Lowell Streets, was pulled by Patrolman. Fire and smoke were showing when the first companies arrived. A fire attack was initiated from the interior stairs and by ground ladders from the outside. “A very heavy snowstorm, a few days before, had covered everything and Engine Companies were having trouble getting water from the snow-covered hydrants. The building was 5-stories, about 125’ wide x 75’ deep. In addition, it was loaded with large amounts of feathers, excelsior, and other materials used in the manufacturing of furniture and mattresses. About 5:15 a.m., when the fire was just about under control, the roof collapsed into the 5th floor and all floors came down. Members started to dig and due to the very heavy fire load and snow, it took a lot of time to work. The Fire Commissioner sent for heavy equipment and stevedores to help remove the heavy timbers… Not long after all the men were removed, a controversy started as to the cause of the collapse. There had been a fire in this building a few years before and the Building Commissioner stated that repairs were made. Other people were not sure. The Superintendent of the Protective Department, said, “he wouldn’t send men in there as it was a dangerous building.” The Chief of Department stated, “At the time of the falling of the floors there had at no time been fire enough on either floor to weaken the supports to such an extent as to make the building dangerous and the crash came without warning!” Whatever the cause was, six firefighters were dead, and a number injured. Most of the injured returned to work within a few days or weeks.”
2/5/1900 a Chicago, IL firefighter “was fatally injured while fighting a commercial fire at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. The fire started at 12:30 p.m. on the third-floor of the five-story brick building housing the Sprague, Warner & Co., one of the largest grocery dealers in the world. The cause of the fire was attributed to the spontaneous combustion of dust in the spice milling department. Although the flames spread quickly, fire walls successfully contained the flames within the southwest corner of the building. Twenty-six fire engines and two fireboats responded to the fire, and Engine 40 was one of the first fire companies on scene. Shortly after arriving at the fire, the victim was pulling a hose line up a ladder when the ladder slipped on the icy sidewalk. He fell to the ground and suffered a fractured hip and other internal injuries. One other firefighter was also injured, and an employee who worked in the building died of smoke inhalation.”
2/5/1919 a Toronto, Canada firefighter died while operating at a fire. “Around 10:45 a.m., a Pumper and Aerial from Station 2 responded to a small fire on the roof at 29 Brent Street, just around the corner from their firehouse. As Aerial 2 was raised, the crew went to the roof with a 3-gallon chemical extinguisher. When the extinguisher was discharged it exploded and blew the victim right off the roof and eighteen feet to the ground, landing on a fence post, where he died instantly.”
2/5/1948 an Albany, New York firefighter “was killed while operating at a two-alarm factory fire.”
2/5/1948 a Peoria, IL firefighter died while fighting a fire at the Jefferson Hotel. “At 8:30 a.m., Box Alarm 49 signaled a fire at the Jefferson Hotel at 235 South Jefferson Street. Firefighters quickly controlled the blaze, which had originated in the kitchen ventilating shaft after built-up grease overheated. Although there was extensive damage to the kitchen, very few of the guests were bothered by the fire and several even continued eating their breakfast in the dining room while the firefighters fought the flames in the kitchen.”
2/5/1992 at 12:06 a.m. the Indianapolis (IN) Athletic Club third floor barroom fire killed two firefighters and injured four others committed to suppression operations when “the fire suddenly increased in magnitude and spread into several areas beyond the room of origin.” One patron died in the stairway between sixth and seventh floors from smoke inhalation and four civilians were injured. The fire started from electrical problem igniting wood paneling in a third-story bar. Combustion gases trapped in a concealed space entered the room and caused a flashover in the room where the fire fighters were working and rapidly spread through the third and fourth floors, and smoke spread throughout the building. “They were initially delayed by the annunciator panel indicating the fire was in the basement of the building. When they realized the fire was actually on the third-floor they were further delayed by a fire hose standpipe the maintenance personnel had sealed shut with Teflon tape. While some firefighters worked on the standpipe, others were sent to attack the origin of the fire in the bar room. However, the fire had spread above and behind the firefighters through a false ceiling containing combustible materials, resulting in a flashover that trapped and killed the two firefighters and severely burned another.”
2/5/1996 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died while fighting a fire in a one-story, concrete-block auto repair garage. “On arrival, firefighters found a fire in a one-story, concrete-block auto repair garage in East Flatbush-Brooklyn. As members entered the structure to search for possible trapped occupants, a partial collapse of the roof occurred, raining roofing materials and steel I-beams down onto several companies of firefighters. The firefighter was struck full force by the I-beams and was pinned to the floor and crushed to death. It took firefighters 20 minutes, using air bags, to remove the beams from him. He was in traumatic arrest and was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A total of 18 other firefighters were also injured, but none seriously. Most of the men were able to duck down between the rows of cars that were in the garage, shielding them from the falling rubble. It was believed that the roof collapsed due to the weight of snow and ice, which had accumulated on it, coupled with its shoddy construction being subject to high heat. It was later discovered that the building was illegally built and was being used as an illegal auto repair garage.”
2/5/1998 two Crooksville, Ohio firefighters died while operating in a basement of a single-story home. “They entered the basement with other firefighters and extinguished fire in the ceiling. In the process of moving around the basement, the attack line was pinched off when it was caught in a folding chair. Firefighters were not aware that their water supply had been cut off. When they began to pull additional ceiling tiles, the room experienced a flashover. Of the five firefighters in the basement when the flashover occurred, two escaped, one was rescued, and two were killed. An adjacent room, which had not been discovered by the firefighters, was fully involved in fire and fire spread to the other room when tiles were removed. Repeated radio requests for help and water were received from the basement but rescuers were unable to reach the firefighters in distress due to severe heat and fire. Both firefighters were wearing their PASS devices, they were turned on, and they activated. The fire cause was determined to be accidental.”
2/5/2014 Buenos Aires, Argentina nine responders were killed and seven injured in a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of corporate and banking industry documents when a brick wall collapsed on top of a large group of first-responders on the sidewalk and street outside. At least half of the sprawling building, the Iron Mountain warehouse, was destroyed. The Boston-based Iron Mountain Inc., which manages, stores and protects information for more than 156,000 companies and organizations in 36 countries. Fire investigators blamed arson for fires that destroyed their warehouses in New Jersey in 1997 and London in 2006, prompting rounds of legal claims over lost records.
2/5/1893 Chicago, IL eight firefighters were injured in a natural gas explosion during the Donohue & Henneberry Building fire.
2/5/2016 an east Toronto Canada seniors’ apartment building fire killed three and injured fifteen that started on the fifth floor of a Toronto Community Housing building at 1315 Neilson Rd. in Scarborough just after 3:00 p.m.
2/5/2016 a hotel fire killed seventeen and injured ten in in the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Arbil.
2/5/1985 Texaco gas plant fire in Erath LA suffers a $50± million loss from fire
2/5/1969 Bandai Atami International Sightseeing Hotel fire, in Koriyama, Japan, killed thirty-one.
2/5/1911 Jefferson City, MO the Capitol Building was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm just before 8:00 p.m. setting it on fire that rapidly spread throughout the frame structure leaving it in ruins and the Legislature homeless.
2/5/1911 Norwich, NY a fire that started at 3:00 a.m. in the 5 and 10-cent store on Broad Street and four other wooden structures were destroyed and the brick bank was seriously damaged.
2/5/1909 an orphanage, the Haskell Memorial Home, of the Seventh Day Adventists, located near the western boundary of Battle Creek, MI was destroyed by fire fanned by a strong wind that killed three of the thirty-seven residences.
2/5/1905 Springfield, MA City Hall burned to the ground.
2/5/1904 a fire at the conservatory of music building at the Bloomsburg (PA) State Normal School gutted three lower floors.
2/5/1900 Richmond, VA 3,600 hogsheads (3,600,000 lbs.) of tobacco were destroyed in a warehouse fire.
2/5/1873 Lafayette, IN an incendiary fire that started in the cellar between two and three o’clock in the morning resulted in the destruction of the interior block known as Spencer’s building, on the east side of the Public Square.
2/5/1864 Colt’s American Arms Company factory in Hartford, CT was destroyed by a fire and two died in the blaze in the 500’ by 60’ three-story building that started in the drying room in the attic, and spread with rapidly in the old building around 8:00 a.m.
2/5/1894 a fire originated in a shed swept into the buildings the “Savannah Grocery Company and M. Ferst’s Sons & Company, wholesale grocers, and the Wilcox & Gibbs Guano Company, manufacturers of fertilizers, occupying nearly an entire block of five-story buildings on Bay Street, in the heart of the wholesale section of Savannah, GA were burned out and other property suffered heavy damages.”
2/5/1873 Springfield, MA a fire that started in “the block occupied by the Merchants’ Union Express and Massachusetts. Mutual Life Insurance Company” was destroyed.
2/5/1860 Council Bluffs, Iowa the Brewery and a small building adjoining it were destroyed fire.