7/16/1990 the Empire State Building fire in New York City injured 38 people, including 31 firefighters, and snarled traffic in that part of midtown for hours. A smoky four-alarm fire billowed smoke from the midsection of the 102-story building. The fire started around 6:30 p.m. and was confined to the 51st floor, though the effects spread smoke and fire gases over at least 10 floors. “The Empire State Building fire started as a typical high rise operation but included a May Day when a fire company got stuck in a disabled elevator. Low pressure in the standpipe hoseline and radios not working due to concrete and steel hindered suppression efforts. Window venting creating a wind-driven fire on the 51st floor. Two hundred people were isolated on the 86th-floor observation deck. Not a large fire, only two office rooms, but the incident had large problems. It required a 5th alarm to control. First arriving fire companies could see the fire through tempered glass doors, leading to the office suite, which had been partially broken and several empty fire extinguishers on the floor. Before they could act, heat from the fire shattered the double tempered glass doors forcing ladder firefighters to scramble back to a smoke-proof fire tower assisting the hose team to hook up in the fire tower stair and hose line advance back down the hall to the fire.” The landmark skyscraper, a Type I fire-resistive, 102-story, 400’ x 200’ office building was constructed in 1930.
7/16/1937 more than one hundred persons were injured including thirty-five firefighters when 40,000 gallons of gasoline exploded during a fire from storage tanks at the Pure Oil Company’s plant in Atlantic City, N.J. shortly before 4:00 p.m. “The flaming liquid dropped over a full city block, showering firefighters, spectators, and employees of the company and setting fire to a coal yard and the adjoining oil plant. A general alarm was sounded bringing every piece of city fire apparatus to the scene.”
7/16/1967 the Jay, Florida, State Prison Road Camp #12 fire killed thirty-seven inmates. After disgruntled convicts lit fire to scrap paper and turning the locked barracks into a flaming death chamber at the recently integrated prison road camp. Fourteen of the fifty-one prisoners were rescued, the building was destroyed in eight minutes. The camp was located in Santa Rosa County, 30 miles north of Pensacola, at the Alabama state line. The movie “Cool Hand Luke” depicts conditions in a Florida Road Camp.
7/16/1884 a Toronto, Ontario, Canada firefighter died at “an alarm that was received around 10:30 p.m. from the T. Hall’s grocery store on Parliament and Sydenham Streets. Companies from the Eastern Section of Toronto responded at that time. Upon arrival, they found a fire in the hayloft above the stables. After knocking down the fire, they entered to attempt to rescue some horses. The firefighters from the Court St Hook and Ladder were using “hooks” to open the hay, when the roof and hayloft collapsed, and burning about a dozen firefighters under tons of hay. A chief organized a search team, and they started to dig each member out. After 45 minutes they thought they had found and removed the last member, but after a “PAR” check by the Captain of the Hook and Ladder, it was realized that one firefighter was still missing. An hour and a half later, the body of the missing firefighter was discovered, crushed under a beam, still holding his pike pole.”
7/16/1898 a Haverhill, MA firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after he fell from a ladder while holding a charged handline while operating at the Cox Store House fire.”
7/16/1924 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “died as a result of the injuries he sustained while operating at a brewery fire.”
7/16/1927 a Philadelphia, PA firefighter “died after being electrocuted on 31st and Market Streets, at the Railroad Bridge.”
7/16/1979 a San Francisco, CA firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after he had fallen from the roof.”
7/16/1981 an Atlanta, Georgia firefighter “died as a result of injuries he sustained the previous day at a structure fire at 206 Trinity Street, SW, when he and two other firefighters were forced to jump from a third-story window due to rapidly escalating fire conditions.”
7/16/1983 an Ocean City, MD firefighter “died in an early morning restaurant fire after being trapped and rescue attempts were unsuccessful.”
7/16/2016 a Loyalist Township, Ontario, Canada firefighter died after responding to “339 Amherst Dr. At approximately 5:00 p.m. the fire department arrived at an unoccupied apartment on the third floor with fire showing from the windows. At some point during the operation, the fire got intense. The firefighter was injured and rushed to the hospital, where he died. Another firefighter suffered very minor injuries and was treated at the scene.”
7/16/2009 a gasoline tanker exploded near Detroit on Interstate 75 beneath the 9 Mile Road overpass about 8:00 p.m. collapsing part of the overpass.
7/16/1978 a fire from gasoline in containers on a bus killed fourteen in Seoul, Korea.
7/16/1954 in Chestertown, MD about 10:30 a.m. nine people died, and at least fifty were injured in a series of horrifying explosions that demolished a 40-acre munitions plant. “Half the town’s 3,000 inhabitants were evacuated from the immediate danger zone while firefighters braved death or serious injury to wet down a huge powder storehouse.”
7/16/1937 the Glendora Coal Mine explosion killed twenty near Sullivan, IN.
7/16/1902 thirty-five men died in the Daly-West and Ontario Mines from a gas explosion in Park City, UT.
7/16/1900 Chicago, IL seven persons were injured, one fatally, by falling walls in a fire caused by lightning at Michigan Street and Dearborn Avenue that started in the Broom Corn Factory and spread rapidly.
7/16/1900 a fire destroyed two stores in Mount Pleasant, TX.
7/16/1890 a house fire killed four children and their mother, the eldest about 8 years old in Valparaiso, IN. The house was consumed.
7/16/1881 the Hastings, Nebraska conflagration started in the afternoon. The fire “destroyed the post-office block and a dozen stores, comprising the best part of the town.”
7/16/1849 thirty houses were destroyed in the Allegheny, PA conflagration.
7/16/1849 the largest portion of the business part of the town of Mauch Chunk, PA was destroyed by fire, including the Court-House, Jail, the Hotel, and 30 stores and dwellings. The fire started around 8:00 a.m.