3/27/1841 The first steam fire engine was test by designer P. Hodge at City Hall in New York, the 14-foot long 7-ton contraption threw a 1-½ inch stream of water over the flagpole. City firefighters hated the engine, they believed it would replace the hand pump and put them all out of work. Firefighters, hired by ward politicians, possessed significant political clout. The hand drawn hand pump engine remained the in use until after the Civil War in New York.
3/27/1923 a Fort William, Ontario, Canada firefighter died when a wall collapsed at the Rutledge and Jackson Store fire, killing him instantly.
3/27/1949 a Peoria, IL firefighter “collapsed and died while fighting a fire at the Charlton Club Tavern in Peoria. At 1:00 p.m., Sunday, March 27, 1949, Box Alarm 114 sounded an alarm to signal a fire at the Charlton Club Tavern at 1303 Second Avenue. Engine Co. 8, with the firefighter in command, was the first fire apparatus to arrive on the scene. While helping extinguish the fire, he collapsed to the ground at 1:08 p.m., only eight minutes into the ordeal. The Inhalator Squad was summoned from the Central Fire Station, but he died in route to St. Francis Hospital.”
3/27/1958 three Chicago, IL firefighters died at a 5-11 fire at 1755 E 71St Street, a one-story 100’ X 300’ building. “The fire department responded to an alarm at 3:00 a.m. for a fire at the South Shore Lincoln-Mercury auto garage on E. 71st Street. More than twenty firefighters were inside the building trying to find the source of the flames when the roof collapsed. Seven firefighters were injured and three were killed by the collapse. Initial investigations focused on the possibility of arson, as a bystander on scene claimed to have seen two men leaving the building shortly before the fire was discovered, but no other witnesses corroborated the story. The coroner’s inquest raised questions about whether or not it had been too dangerous for firefighters to enter the building in the first place, but a Battalion Chief testified that the fire appeared no more dangerous than any other. The jury eventually ruled that the three deaths were accidental. Based on the failure of the wooden truss supporting the laminated roof structure, the jury recommended enacting a law requiring all wooden truss roofs to be insulated with fireproof materials.”
3/27/2015 New York, NY a gas explosion in Manhattan’s East Village ignited a fire that killed two, injured twenty-six, and caused two buildings to partially collapse. “The massive explosion was apparently connected to gas and plumbing work at an East Village building that sparked the vast seven-alarm fire that then spread to four buildings, according to officials and the Mayor.” “The massive blast tore through a five-story building igniting the structure and three adjacent building as the flames tore through the roof. The fire completely gutted the residential building with a restaurant on the first floor, leaving only the brick exterior as the floors collapsed on top of each other into a heap of rubble.”
2/27/2014 Racine Wisconsin an early morning fire severely damaged Mitchell Elementary School causing the gymnasium roof to collapse in near-zero outside temperatures that complicated fire fighting operations.
3/27/2014 Toronto, Canada a six-alarm mattress factory fire forced evacuation.
3/27/2013 Sherrard, IL a mobile home fire killed five, four of them children near Quad Cities.
3/27/1981 the Harbor Cay Condominium collapse killed eleven and injured twenty-seven in Cocoa Beach, FL. Numerous errors in design and construction lead to the failure of the five-story flat plate designed residential project. The concrete slabs were 8” thick not 11” and the “chair spacers” used to support were undersized. An architect, two engineers, and two contractors were charged with negligence.
3/27/1947 Bristol, TN a filling station explosion and fire killed five. “Gasoline fumes had leaked into the basement and in some manner became ignited.” “How the fumes became ignited, of course, is a matter of supposition, but it is my belief that a spark from an air compressor motor in the basement was the cause. It could not have been caused by a lighted cigarette.” “The explosion did not come from the gasoline tanks. Heavy concrete, which rained on the tanks, broke them and allowed the gasoline to pour out, feeding the flames, but the tanks themselves did not explode.”
3/27/1917 a gas leak in the basement of the hotel caused an explosion and fire in Creston, WV that killed five and extended to eleven buildings in the business section.
3/27/1912 Masten Park High School, at Masten and Best Streets in Buffalo, NY one of the four big high schools, was completely destroyed by fire caused by an explosion of chemicals shortly after noon today over 1,000 boys and girls filed out in perfect order.
3/27/1911 Linn Grove, Iowa conflagration: the business district fire started in the hall of the Modern Woodmen of America and quickly spread to neighboring buildings including a butcher shop, a warehouse, and barber shop.
3/27/1909 Stanton, TX an explosion and fire from a gasoline bath heater in a barber shop around 7:00 a.m. extended to several businesses.
3/27/1882 San Francisco, CA Vulcan Powder Company explosion in the granulating house killed eleven and injured four at a manufacturing plant that produces black blasting powder.
3/27/1855 Abraham Gesner patents kerosene, also known as paraffin in the UK, a combustible hydrocarbon liquid; the name is derived from Greek keros (κηρός) wax.