On 5/9/1791 a “fire, which started in an Inn only two blocks from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania quickly spread to several adjoining buildings. While operating at the blaze, twelve firefighters were killed when they were caught under the collapsing walls of a block of buildings. They were the first members of the department to lose their lives in the performance of their duties. They were also some of the very first firefighters to lose their lives in the history of the United States fire service.”
On 5/9/1896 an East Village, Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter fell through a hatchway into a sub-cellar the day before while fighting a fire. He died from the injuries sustained from the fall.
On 5/9/1929 an Aurora, Illinois firefighter “was suffocated by smoke at a fire in the Old Orpheum Building on Main Street in Aurora. The fire was discovered shortly before midnight and four fire department companies responded to the blaze. He was leading firefighters from Company 4 in their firefighting efforts in the basement when he was overcome by smoke. He climbed out of the basement on his own but soon collapsed into the arms of two other firefighters. An inhalator was summoned, but they were unable to revive him. The cause of the fire was traced back to defective wiring between the basement and first floor of the building, and the damage was estimated at $2000. At the time, the Old Orpheum Building housed the King Joy Lo Chinese Restaurant, Block’s Toggery Shop, Bud’s Smoke Shop and Shoe Shining Parlor, and the Universal Billiard Hall. Following his death, the coroner’s jury recommended that gas masks be provided for every company in the Aurora Fire Department.”
On 5/9/1934 a Paterson, New Jersey firefighter became the second to die “as a result of injuries sustained May 7th, when he and another firefighter were caught under a collapsing wall while operating at a three-alarm fire involving a lyceum. The other firefighter died May 8th.” “Lyceum is a Latin name of a gymnasium.”
On 5/9/2001 a Passaic, New Jersey firefighter died at an occupied three-story apartment building fire. “The first-arriving engine company reported a working fire. Firefighters on-scene received reports that children were trapped in the building. He and another firefighter from his company proceeded to the second floor of the building to search. A search of the second floor was conducted and all of the apartments on that floor were found to be clear. He and the other firefighter proceeded to the third floor to continue their search. On their way to the third floor, the team encountered heavy smoke and high heat. Both firefighters went back to the second-story landing. The second firefighter partner told him to wait on the landing while he retrieved additional lighting from the apparatus. A few minutes later, he called on the radio and said that he was trapped on the third floor. This transmission was not heard on the fireground and a second request for help was also not heard. He called a third time and reported that he was trapped on the third floor and needed help. His exit path had been blocked by fire, and he was unable to find his way out. A defective throttle on the pumper supplying the initial attack line created water supply and pressure problems. Firefighters were unable to advance to the third floor to rescue him. The fire on the third floor grew to a point where firefighters could not control it with handlines. An aerial master stream was used to darken down the fire and allow firefighters to access the third floor. After several attempts, the missing firefighter was discovered in a third-story bedroom. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation. The fire was caused by an unsupervised twelve-year-old girl that was attempting to light a stove. The children that were reported trapped were actually out of the building.”
On 5/9/2013 the Lahore Plaza fire, Pakistan, left at least eight people dead, and six others critically injured after a massive fire broke out at the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) plaza. Four of the victims plunged to their deaths after waiting to be rescued for four hours on balconies and window sills. The fire started from an electrical short circuit on the 7th floor and engulfed the 7th floor and spread to the 8th and 9th floors.
On 5/9/2011 a Grand Rapids, Michigan fire at the Kindel Furniture Warehouse started on an upper floor of the building around noon by a welder in an un-drained lacquer line.
On 5/9/1983 a Catholic Church fire killed twenty-one in Santa Cruz Tlapacoya, Mexico.
On 5/9/1977 the Hotel Poland in Amsterdam was destroyed by a fire that killed thirty-three.
On 5/9/2001 soccer fans were trampled in Ghana; 126 dead. “The Accra Sports Stadium disaster occurred at the Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra, Ghana. Ghana’s two most successful football (soccer) teams played that day, Accra Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko. Officials were anticipating crowd disturbances and had taken extra security measures. Accra scored two late goals, and a referee called 2–1 Accra, resulting in disappointed Kotoko fans throwing plastic seats and bottles onto the pitch. The police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd. Panic and a stampede ensued as fans tried to escape. Gates were locked and the stadium’s compromised design left a bottleneck, with fewer exits than originally planned. Ghana Institute of Architects called the stadium a “death trap.” After the hour-long ordeal, it was found that 116 deaths resulted from compressive asphyxia and 10 fans died from trauma.”
On 5/9/1911 a fire broke out at Empire Theater in Edinburgh Scotland.
On 5/9/1894 the town of Norway, Maine was destroyed by a fire that started about 1:30 p.m. in the box shop on the west end of Main Street.
On 5/9/1891 most places of business were destroyed by a fire that covered from five to six entire blocks in Alliston, Ontario.
On 5/9/1848 the Detroit, Michigan conflagration, started around 11:30 a.m. in a large warehouse, between Randolph and Bates Streets; 80 to 100 buildings were destroyed, “including two or three large warehouses on the river, the Steamboat Hotel, Water’s Hotel, and many private residences on Jefferson Avenue.”
On 5/9/1837 the steamship “Sherrod” burned in the Mississippi River below Natchez Mississippi, 175 died.