4/3/1962 “the Norwich, CT fire department lost four firefighters in a violent and fiery explosion at the Van Tassel warehouse. An employee reported smoke coming from the trailer of a truck that was being unloaded at the dock. The truck was carrying a 20-ton load of organic peroxides from New York that may have been ignited by friction or a leak. The initial call to dispatch was at 1:22 p.m. and Engine 1 and 3 were sent to the scene at the dead-end of Forest Street. Box 125 was received at 1:25 p.m. and Norwich’s 2 Engines and the ladder truck were dispatched, as well. Engine 1 secured a water supply and pulled past the trailer. Engine 3 arrived and stopped just short of the truck’s tractor. Five firefighters crouched behind the concrete loading-platform wall to direct a 2-½ inch hose stream into the rear of the smoldering trailer. The van exploded killing three of the five firefighters behind the wall. Another firefighter from Engine 3 was caught in the fireball and killed. The two remaining firefighters had to wait 30 minutes to be rescued due to the severity of the fire that followed. The wooden warehouse buildings, containing approximately one million pounds of bagged charcoal briquettes, were blown down and began to burn. Engine 1 and 3 were destroyed. The explosion caused damage throughout a large portion of the city and was felt as far away as Montville and Preston. The tractor-trailer was placarded appropriately, for the time, with “Dangerous” on both sides and rear. This tragedy leads to stricter guidelines for transportation and placarding of hazardous materials for the entire country.”
4/3/1883 a second gas explosion in the cellar of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, CA killed two firefighters and injured nine others. The cause of the explosion was due to a broken gas main, that was in the process of being repaired.
4/3/1892 two large fires broke out almost simultaneously resulting from carelessness that caused great destruction in New Orleans, LA, and killed two children and injured three firefighters.
4/3/1902 a Boston, MA firefighter “died at Boston City Hospital at 12:40 p.m., after inhaling Nitric Acid fumes from a broken carboy while operating at a Still Alarm at 86-92 Sudbury Street, Downtown. The Still Alarm at 10:51 a.m. on April 1 occurred in the basement of J. Wiley & Company, a paint and oil establishment.”
4/3/1927 an Orlando, FL firefighter collapsed and died on the tailboard of Engine 2 before arriving at Orange Memorial Hospital following a large house fire on Tampa Avenue.
4/3/1938 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter died at “a three-alarm fire involved an irregular shaped, two-story stable with 131 horses trapped inside. He was climbing a ladder to the roof and was killed when an explosion caused a wall to collapse, knocking him from the ladder. Several other firefighters were seriously injured.”
4/3/1944 a Toronto, Ontario, Canada firefighter “collapsed and died while working inside a smoke-filled house on Braemar Ave.”
4/3/1959 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died of smoke inhalation while operating at a single-alarm blaze.”
4/3/1989 three Oklahoma City, Oklahoma firefighters “were engulfed in a fireball after gases built up inside a one-story house at 2421 SW 30 on March 8th. They were unaware that the house had been remodeled. One firefighter died at the scene, the second died on March 9th and the third firefighter died on April 3rd. During the incident, flashover indicators were present, with high levels of heat and heavy smoke being reported by first-in companies. However, the fire gave a false indication that it had vented itself through the roof. Unknown at the time to the fire crew operating inside was that the house had two additions. The fire they saw outside the structure was between an existing roof and one of the two added-on roof coverings.”
4/3/2020 a fire at Southwest Florida International Airport destroyed over 3,500 rental cars. “A fire that spread across 15 acres destroying more than 3,500 rental cars at the rental car overflow area of Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). The fire was fully contained and extinguished Saturday as crews worked through the night Friday, putting out the flames to ensure it did not continue to spread or cause further damage. More than 3,800 rental cars, belonging to the various rental car agencies that serve the airport, were undamaged and relocated.”
4/3/2015 the General Electric storage warehouse fire in Louisville, Kentucky resulted in a $110 million loss. The 700,000 square-foot building was part of the General Electric Appliance Park. Over 100 firefighters from 18 departments responded to the incident. The cause was never determined, although it was narrowed down to either an electrical failure or a lightning strike. “While Appliance Park had a once-robust water-based fire protection system, with hydrants and sprinklers fed by an on-site water supply and fire pumps, the system was overwhelmed by the rapidly spreading fire. Most of the fire pumps proved inoperable on the day of the fire and the ceiling sprinklers inside AP-6 were not engineered to control fires involving highly combustible materials like plastics.” “General Electric was planning a sprinkler upgrade for a large storage facility in Kentucky that over the years had undergone a slow but significant change of occupancy.” “The GE fire illustrates what can go wrong when building owners fail to make changes to water-based fire protection systems after the use of an occupancy changes.”
4/3/2013 a fire in an unoccupied 40-story high-rise apartment building under construction in Chechnya, Russia caused extensive damage.
4/3/2012 around 5:00 a.m. fire at Kachalovo construction market on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia killed seventeen migrant workers sleeping in a metal shed on the premises, all were citizens of former Soviet nations in Central Asia.
4/3/2008 Brockway, PA a house fire claimed ten lives, including a 40-year-old woman, five of her children, and three grandchildren that may have started from a space heater.
4/3/1967 the Balmer North coal mine explosion killed fifteen in Natal, BC around 4:00 p.m.
4/3/1945 Ladder Company 1’s unique 100’ Magirus* was used by the Milwaukee, WI Fire Department to get hose line to the top floor of Saint Roses Orphan Asylum when it burned. The sanctuary, founded in 1848 and located next to Saint Mary’s Hospital on North Lake Drive was one of many social welfare institutions established during the reign of Milwaukee Catholic Bishop John Henri. (*Dietrich Magirus invented the first free-standing, mobile turntable ladder in 1864)
4/3/1930 a fireworks plant explosion in Devon, PA killed nine, including two children, who were playing near the facility around 9:50 a.m. “The plant consisted of ten small buildings on a seven-acre tract of land near the Pennsylvania Railroad’s mainline to the west.”
4/3/1909 Bradford, PA over thirty young school children and four men, mostly residents of the Third Ward, were severely burned in an afternoon gas explosion at a new oil well on School Street.
4/3/1856 gunpowder in a church exploded that killed 4,000 in Rhodes, Greece.
4/3/1852 the Paducah, KY conflagration destroyed 40 buildings.
4/3/1852 the Redstone Steamer boiler explosion near Carrolton, KY killed nine.