4/18/1906 near San Francisco, California a magnitude (Mw) 7.8 earthquake occurred when the San Andreas Fault slipped over a segment about 275 miles long at 5:12 a.m. The subsequent fires in San Francisco killed 315+ and the fire ultimately destroyed over 500 city blocks almost 30,000 buildings. “Shaking was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, and inland as far as central Nevada.” “Fires immediately broke out, and because broken water mains prevented firefighters from stopping them, firestorms soon developed citywide.” “On that morning a firefighter was standing the 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. night watch on the apparatus floor at the quarters of his company. Truck Company No. 1 was housed in a three-story brick building which was built in 1866 located at 22 O’Farrell Street. The violent force of the Great Earthquake shook the firehouse, causing the brick walls to collapse killing him.” “A firefighter on duty in the North San Pedro Quarters when the pre-dawn earthquake disaster overwhelmed San Jose. Attempting to escape from the collapsing firehouse, he was struck and killed by a falling section of the brick wall.”
4/18/1896 two Philadelphia, PA firefighters “died from the injuries they sustained when a wall collapsed at the Railroad Depot at 32nd and Market Streets.”
4/18/1924 the Curran Hall fire, 1363 S. Blue Island in Chicago, IL killed eight firefighters. Curran Hall was a landmark 50-year-old brick building southwest of the Loop. “During its heyday, the four-story dance hall had been a popular party spot. But thanks to time and Prohibition, instead of dancing and fun, the hall now was home to several small businesses, including a leather goods store. Engine 107’s crew stretched a hoseline up the fire escape and into the burning second floor. They crawled on hands and knees through the heat and blinding smoke, inching their way to the seat of the fire. In those days firefighters had no breathing apparatus, so they had to follow the hose and crawl back and forth to the door to grab a breath of fresh air. After playing water against the flames for about a half-hour, it began to darken, but the firefighters could sense something was wrong. Their instincts were confirmed when fire commanders outside began frantically screaming for their men to get out of the building. But the warning came too late because no sooner did the men from Engine 107 and Truck 12 begin scrambling for the fire escape when the building’s outer walls buckled, bringing down the entire structure, burying the firefighters inside. The collapse knocked out electrical power to the area, leaving those searching for trapped men to use flashlights. For several hours they dug by hand amid the possibility of a secondary collapse. When cranes were finally brought in eight bodies were dugout. Of the eight dead firefighters, six were from the firehouse at 13th and Oakley. One civilian had also been killed. A ninth firefighter, also from the Oakley station, died eight days later. Twenty others had been injured. A tenth firefighter suffered a fatal heart attack while serving as a pallbearer for one of the victims from Truck 12. Arson surfaced during the investigation of the Curran Hall fire. Flammable liquids had been used to start the fire, which originated inside the leather goods store on the second floor. Detectives learned that the store’s two owners had been in financial trouble and that on the night of the fire, the pair had instructed their employees not to lock the rear doors. Witnesses later related seeing one of the men leave the building through the unlocked door shortly before the fire was reported. After a coroner’s jury returned a verdict of murder by arson, the two owners were indicted. At the trial, the defendants were acquitted because, despite an abundance of circumstantial evidence, nothing could be produced to prove that they had started the fire themselves. For the dead firefighters and their families, this meant justice had been denied.”
4/18/1896 two Philadelphia, PA firefighters died from the injuries they sustained when a wall collapsed at the Railroad Depot at 32nd and Market Streets.
4/18/2005 two Evanston, WY firefighters died while operating at a structure fire in a three-level end-unit townhouse. “Neighbors advised the firefighters that children were trapped on the second floor of the residence. A handline was pulled, and two firefighters advanced the line into the structure. The firefighters advanced the hose line to the second floor of the structure. A backup crew with a handline was entering the front door of the structure when an explosion occurred. The explosion blew the backup firefighters away from the building and caused windows to be blown out. After the explosion, the fire progressed rapidly. The backup crew was unable to gain access to the second floor. Another handline advanced from the rear entrance was able to knock down the fire sufficiently to allow access to the second floor. Approximately 15 minutes after the explosion, firefighters were able to remove the two firefighters from the structure. Both men were dead. The fire was burning in a concealed space. When a door was opened on the second floor, the fire extended with explosive force. The fire was electrical, caused when storage boxes and floor planking were laid on top of electrical wires.”
4/18/2015 an unattended outdoor cooking fire quickly spread through chest-high vegetation at Prado Dam near Corona, CA, and burned over 1,020 acres.
4/18/2013 a Billings Montana mobile home fire left four dead. The “mobile home fire that left four people dead began when two men lit an apron on fire in the kitchen while the victims slept following a party.”
4/18/1966 the Jewish Theological Seminary Library fire was discovered around 10:15 a.m. Smoke was observed pouring from one of the small upper windows of the library tower at Broadway and 122nd Street in New York City. The Jewish Theological Seminary, JTS, is the primary educational and religious center of Conservative Judaism. There were no floors separating one level of the tower from another, only steel library stacks surrounded by catwalks; and had only a few small limited access windows. The fire spread quickly and extinguishing was extremely difficult, with only one entrance and stairwell. Some 70,000 volumes were destroyed in the fire and many more were damaged… The library now exceeds 380,000 volumes. With the assistance of the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, 35,000 books that were saved from the fire and placed in high-density storage are being restored and cataloged.
4/18/1896 the Broadwater Mine explosion near Neihart, Montana killed seven miners around 11:15 a.m.
4/18/1917 the Pipestone, MN High School was destroyed by fire.
4/18/1983 a suicide bomber killed sixty-three including seventeen Americans at U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.