On 3/22/2002 around 11:54 a.m., “the Jersey City (New Jersey) Fire Department was dispatched for a fire reported at 580 Henderson Street a cold storage warehouse. The building was part of an industrial complex that had stood vacant for many years. The building was well known to the Jersey City Fire Department, as it was basically the sister building of that which claimed the lives of six firefighters in Worcester, Massachusetts, on December 3, 1999…The building was constructed in two phases. The original section of the building, which was Type IV mill construction, was eight stories in height. The second phase of the building, added at a later time, which was of Type I fire-resistive construction, was seven stories in height. The piping was ripped out of the building, rendering any fire protection systems present useless. The only major difference between this building and other warehouse buildings was that there were no window openings throughout the structures except two smaller windows located in between the floor levels in the stairwells. The outer perimeter walls were built out approximately one foot from the floors; steel tie rods connected the wall to the floors approximately every 10 feet on all floor levels. This one-foot shaftway (which is basically what it was; one could stand on the first-floor level and look up and see the bottom of the roof on the seventh floor) was filled with five inches of cork material, which was attached to the interior side of the exterior walls by a composite asphalt adhesive material. Over the cork, there was an additional five to six inches of polystyrene insulation covered by a thin coating of a plaster-type finish added to provide a hard surface to the wall. The cork/polystyrene composite materials served to insulate the entire structure, which in essence made the structure a large refrigerator. The lower floors provided access to more than one stairwell; however, on the upper floors, this was not possible because of compartmentation. On floor two there was a large, unprotected 15-foot by 15-foot opening in the floor that was used to move stock from floor to floor. There were six elevator shafts throughout the structure, most with missing doors, resulting in open shafts. The structure, which occupied an entire city block, was approximately 300 feet by 500 feet and was four sections interconnected by five stairwells. The building abutted the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. The Jersey City Fire Department had the usual problems that all urban departments have in such buildings: numerous small fires; the homeless seeking shelter in the building; and plumbing, sprinkler, and waste piping ripped out of the building and sold for scrap…Units that responded to this alarm were not the normally assigned units from the area because of a fire in a 36-story commercial high-rise at 525 Washington Boulevard… A Battalion Chief arrived on the scene at 12:04 and reported heavy fire conditions. A male victim was visible, hanging out a stairwell window on the third floor. The Battalion Chief transmitted a second alarm and directed incoming units to the location of the male victim. Firefighters using an aerial ladder removed the victim through the window, along with a second victim who was overcome and lying on the stairwell floor below the window. The window was approximately 24 inches wide by 48 inches high. It consisted of two units set in steel frames mullioned together. The victims were pulled through a 24” X 24” opening, the size of one sash. Reports from police were that as many as 50 homeless people could be occupying the building… Initially, approximately 50 firefighters operated in the interior of the building, putting out the smaller fires on the lower floors with 1 ¾-inch hoselines. Firefighters were making progress on the lower floors. The fire burrowed into the cork on one of the lower levels, traveled up the inside of the exterior walls, and took possession of most of the sixth and seventh floors; large spot fires were located on all floors below floor six, including the basement. Crews stretched a 1 ¾-inch hoseline with a 2 ½-inch backup hoseline to the sixth floor and two 2 ½-inch hoselines to the seventh floor. Primary searches were conducted at all locations accessible to firefighters (search areas were large, open spaces typical of warehouses; dangers such as unprotected openings in floors, open elevator shafts, and lack of means to ventilate the building rendered some locations inaccessible). Command decided to withdraw all units from the building permanently. Also, the scene safety officer reported to Command that the building was starting to develop a large crack down the west wall.”
On 3/22/1890 an Indianapolis, Indiana firefighter “died as a result of injuries he sustained in the building collapse at the bookstore on March 17th.”
On 3/22/1902 a Detroit, Michigan firefighter “died from injuries he sustained after having fallen through a roof and into the fire.”
On 3/22/1926 a Hartford, Connecticut firefighter “died as a result of exposure suffered at an orphanage fire.”
On 3/22/1929 two Peoria, Illinois firefighters “died while battling a fire at the Peoria Market House on 123-127 South Washington Street at the corner of Washington and Fulton Streets. At 5:48 a.m., an alarm signaled the fire; on arrival, the fire department immediately called for a “33 All Hands” general alarm. It is believed that the fire started on the third floor of the three-story brick and masonry building. The intense heat activated the sprinkler systems in the building, which prevented the flames from extending to surrounding exposures. In record time, the fire crews had hose lines snaking from every hydrant within a few hundred feet and as many as 15 streams of water were sent into the flames from every exterior vantage point. Three firefighters entered the structure, fighting their way through the dense smoke and intense heat, and began to direct a stream of water onto the seat of the fire on the level above them. They made their way up the stairs to the second floor to inspect the structure. After the evaluation, they reported that the building had suffered quite a bit of damage and could collapse at any moment. Three firefighters remained inside the structure but moved back to a presumably safer position. Approximately five minutes later, they conduct a second evaluation of the second floor. One firefighter had just moved a few steps away from the other two when a loud, ominous crack was heard, and the floor began to fall upon his comrades. The valiant firefighters had no chance to escape and both men were buried in a tangled mess of broken timbers and falling bricks. Six other firefighters were slightly injured in the collapse. With increased intensity, the flames swept through the building, and the heat and smoke forced them to retreat from possible rescue efforts. At 4:00 p.m., almost eight hours after the collapse, the lifeless bodies of the two firefighters were excavated. They were still grasping the nozzle of the hose in the direction of the fire.”
On 3/22/1932 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died in “a violent boiler explosion in the sub-cellar that caught the members of Engine 26, Ladder 21, and the 3rd Division Chief. The firefighter died of smoke inhalation and all the other firefighters were injured in the blast. It was believed that waste benzine had come in contact with the feed line at the boiler and caused the blast and resulting two-alarm fire.”
On 3/22/1954 a North Lincoln, Oregon firefighter died while fighting “a structure fire at the Nelscott Sea Food Market. He collapsed on the scene while fighting a commercial kitchen fire. Firefighters on the scene immediately began resuscitation efforts. He was transported to North Lincoln Hospital in Wecoma but efforts at revival were unsuccessful.”
On 3/22/1970 a Buffalo, New York firefighter “died after suffering from respiratory distress. He and members of Engine 15 were battling a four-alarm fire at Brocks Super Duper at 286 Ontario Street, on March 16th. He was overcome and collapsed at the scene. Companies were doing overhaul when he was discovered. He was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital where he later died.”
On 3/22/1973 a Los Angeles, California firefighter “was killed instantly when the 40-foot crane struck him across the back and knocked him face-down in the mud during a 7:54 a.m. fire at the H and S salvage yard, 1261 N. Alameda Street.”
On 3/22/1980 around 6:15 p.m. the “City of Summit, New Jersey Fire Department responded to a report of a fire at the Century Oldsmobile dealership at 290 Broad Street. During the next few minutes, the roof of the structure collapsed injuring several firefighters and pinning one member in the debris. The trapped firefighter was successfully extricated from the wreckage of the collapsed roof members after being pinned to the hood of a new Oldsmobile parked in the showroom. A portion of the heavy timber bowstring truss-supported roof collapsed with little warning as a fire in a storage area in the truss loft above the showroom burned out of control. The automobile dealership where the fire occurred occupied a three-section one-story concrete and terra cotta block building with a heavy timber bowstring truss roof assembly that was built in the 1940s. The timber trusses spanned the width of the building and were spaced about sixteen feet apart on masonry pilasters built into the side walls. The building had the distinctive arched roof of a bowstring truss structure, but the view of the roofline was blocked by a masonry parapet wall that ran the length of the front of the building. The section where the fire occurred measured 50 feet wide by 100 feet deep. The front half of the section served as a new car showroom while the rear half was occupied by vehicle service repair bays. The truss loft over the showroom was concealed by a gypsum wallboard ceiling while the trusses were open in the rear of the building. Large plate-glass windows were facing busy Broad Street on the alpha side of the building while the Charlie side featured a roll-up overhead door that faced onto an alley. A similarly constructed building was on the immediate delta exposure. The service bays were separated from the showroom by a wood frame partition wall that extended to the underside of the bottom chord of one of the timber trusses. At some point, a narrow staircase had been constructed in the service area to access a makeshift truss loft over the showroom which was utilized for storage. The building was not equipped with a fire sprinkler system or a fire alarm. The area weather the evening of the fire was 47 degrees with a 13-mph northwesterly wind.”
On 3/22/2018 two York, Pennsylvania firefighters “were killed from a collapse at the scene of a multi-alarm fire that began on March 21st. Fire crews were still on-scene putting out hot spots that were flaring up nearly twenty-four hours later. The two firefighters were transported to the hospital where they succumbed to their injuries. Two other firefighters injured in the collapse were reported to be in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries. Prior to the fire breaking out, the 150-year-old multi-story structure, known as the Weaver Organ and Piano building, was being renovated into apartments.” “The fire occurred in a detached 4-story Type IV heavy timber mill construction building originally built in the 1870s. From 1882 to 1959, the structure was the site of the Weaver Piano and Organ manufacturing company. Several additions over the years increased the structure to a 4-story heavy timber mill building enclosing approximately 53,000 square feet of floor space. Exterior walls were constructed of multi-course (three and four-course) bricks typical for mill construction of this era. The structure had a flat roof supported by wooden beams. Large plank floorboards were reported to be up to three inches thick. A basement area was located near the alpha side of the structure. Recent renovation work included adding a new flat roof with a waterproof membrane. Several commercial air handling units had been added to the roof as part of the renovation of an apartment complex. The exposed wooden beams and original plank flooring were being refinished to highlight the original architecture. It was reported to investigators that the fourth floor was nearly ready for occupancy. The third floor was approximately 60 – 70 percent complete and the second floor was roughly laid out with wall studs set in place. The building contained a sprinkler system that was inoperative at the time of the fire. Previous building deterioration had damaged the piping system to the point where the water supply to the system had to be shut off. Note: Members of the fire department and the fire prevention office performed a walk-through inspection of the structure in October 2017, during the initial renovation phase. Following that inspection, the building was added to the fire department’s NO ENTRY list.
On 3/23/2018 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter was killed, and two other firefighters were seriously injured in a Harlem five-alarm fire that broke out in a former jazz club that was being used as a film set. “The firefighter was operating the fire hose nozzle in the basement of the building when fire conditions intensified, and he became separated from the other firefighters. The firefighter was removed from the structure and taken to Harlem Hospital where he was declared deceased.” The five-alarm fire that broke out in Saint Nicks Jazz Pub was being used as a film set, on Nicholas Ave near 148th Street around 11:00 p.m.”
On 3/22/1975 a fire at the Brown’s Ferry-1 reactor fire in Decatur, Alabama, started while workers were checking for an air leak with a lit candle and quickly spread to the electrical cable seal and extended into the reactor building. “Foamed plastic covered on both sides with two coats of a flame-retardant paint used as a firestop.” Built-in 1966 on the Tennessee River it was the first nuclear plant to generate more than 1 gigaWatt of power.
On 3/22/2012 a 31-year-old woman, an 11-year-old boy, and 9, 7, and 4-year-old girls died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of a small kitchen fire in their Jacksonville, Arkansas house.
On 3/22/1972 a fire on the seventh floor of the William Sloane House, a YMCA residence, on Thirty-fourth Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Manhattan’s (New York) west side left four elderly men dead from smoke inhalation.
On 3/22/1932 the Hotel Elm in Dallas, Texas, “a small second-story establishment in the downtown district” fire killed four.
On 3/22/1916 prairie fires burn hundreds of miles of grass in western counties in the Dodge City, Kansas area; “many houses have been caught in the fast-moving flames and pasture lands.”
On 3/22/1916 in East Nashville, Tennessee 35 residential blocks were destroyed by a fire that started after “a ball of yarn, lit and thrown by a boy into dry grass in a vacant lot.”
On 3/22/1916 in Fairplay, Polk County, Missouri a forest fire driven by the high winds “resulted in much damage to property.”
On 3/22/1916 three buildings were destroyed by a fire in Kansas City, Kansas that started about 3:00 a.m. in the rear of a grocery store at 1258 Kansas Avenue; high winds fanned the flames.
On 3/22/1916 the central portion of the three-wing Normal School was destroyed by a fire in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
3/22/1899 West Point Boiler Works explosion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killed five around noon. “The boilers were inspected six months ago, and were thought to be in first-class condition.”