3/15/1888 two Milwaukee, WI firefighters were killed, and four firefighters were injured at the West Water Street fire. “One of the most destructive fires to life and property Milwaukee has ever known broke out at 1:45 a.m. Before it was under control the fire gutted a large four-story brick block on West Water Street, opposite the Plankinton Hotel, and buried a smaller building and a squad of firefighters under falling walls. Firefighters worked desperately to save the rest of the square from destruction, the block in which the flames first appeared being practically doomed from the beginning. Half an hour after the alarm was given the north wall of the big building swayed and then fell outward, crushing the frame building next door and falling right upon a body of firefighters. The ruins buried the men, and it was hard work for the rescuers to reach them. The cause of the explosion which started the fire is supposed to have been either paraffin-cement in the shoe factory or gas which accumulated from some leak in the pipes. The explosion was heard for a block and woke up many guests of the Plankinton House. Almost instantly the flames spread over the building, bursting out at every window and fairly eating up the beams of the block.”
3/15/1900 a San Francisco, CA firefighter died “while operating at a fire, he fell into a light well, and died from the injuries he sustained in the fall.”
3/15/1911 a Milwaukee, WI firefighter died “while operating from a ladder in the bitter cold, at a three-alarm blaze involving the Hilty Lumber Company and yard, he suffered an acute heart attack, brought on by exhaustion, and fell from the lower rungs of the ladder. All efforts to revive him proved futile.”
3/15/1912 Hamilton, OH the Butler County Courthouse fire killed two firefighters and injured four others around noon when a 125-foot “iron clock tower above which was a huge bronze bell and a heavy bronze statue of justice” collapsed.
3/15/1922 a Chicago, IL firefighter died “during a massive fire that destroyed the entire city block bordered by Jackson, Van Buren, Canal, and Clinton Streets. The fire started in the Austin Building on Canal Street and quickly spread to a number of adjacent buildings, including the Canal Street Station of the “L” train. Flames also crossed Clinton Street to the fourteen-story Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Building, which burned from the roof downward. Eighty percent of the city’s firefighters responded to the fire, and more than 1,000 fire nozzles were used while battling the flames. The firefighter was killed as he crossed Van Buren Street while carrying wet blankets in support of firefighting operations. He was struck on the head by a piece of stone masonry and transported to Iroquois Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a skull fracture.”
3/15/1956 a District of Columbia (Washington DC) firefighter died “while operating at an extremely smoky and stubborn three-alarm fire inside a three-story brick apartment house at #2325 Minnesota Avenue S.E.”
3/15/1957 a Modesto, CA firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained while operating at a warehouse fire on Grand Street.”
3/15/1993 two Pittston, Pennsylvania firefighters “fell through the floor of a burning structure. The two were killed after the floor gave way, sending them crashing into the basement of the building. The pair was buried under tons of debris, and fellow firefighters had to work more than 14 hours to recover their bodies.”
3/15/1994 at 12:47 a.m. an accidental fire at the Pacific Bell telephone exchange interrupted telephone service, including 911 service, for the city of Los Angeles, CA that started in a 75’ X 100’ switching equipment room on the 13th floor of the 17-story high-rise telephone exchange building. “The fire, which primarily involved the batteries, resulted in the loss of power to circuits supporting 911 service, normal telephone circuits, cellular telephones and pagers in the city.”
3/15/1983 Odessa, TX a gas pipeline explosion killed five, a mother, her three young children and a worker; “after a drill pierced a natural gas pipeline and touched off an explosion” around 7:30 p.m. that destroyed two trailer homes.
3/15/1923 seven women and two men perish in fire following a gas explosion in the basement at the Alms House in Angelica, NY that housed twenty-four women patients.
3/15/1917 the DuPont Powder plant near Wilmington, DE suffered an explosion that killed one.
3/15/1910 the Cumberland (MD) city hall that “contained the Academy of Music, the Masonic and Odd Fellows hall and the city market” burned. The fire destroyed many of the city’s records.
3/15/1910 Lawrence, MA the Clegg Leather board mill fire was started by “matches caught in the machinery.”
3/15/1897 Elkins, WV the business section conflagration damaged about 16 structures after a fire started in a hardware and furniture store around 7:30 a.m. “Elkins has no fire department, and the flames were soon beyond control, having mostly frame buildings in their pathway.”
315/1891 Belton, TX the Courthouse was damaged by fire that started in the county treasurer’s office on the north side of the building.
3/15/1850 the Buffalo, New York conflagration destroyed much of city including the American Hotel, the Park Church, and numerous stores and dwellings that started about 2:30 a.m. in a restaurant driven by a heavy gale was blowing from the south-west.
3/15/1845 the National Theater fire damaged an entire block of Washington DC.
3/15/1769 Hampton, NH Moulton Mansion and two stores were destroyed by fire around 4:00 a.m.
3/15/1999 Bourbonnais, IL Amtrak train and a semi-truck and trailer loaded with heavy steel bars collision killed fourteen at a crossing, 50 miles south of Chicago.
3/15/1892 St. Louis, MO an elevator accident killed five; when an elevator loaded sheet-iron plate on the second floor “when the rope broke, and it fell with a crash on the men standing beneath it.”