7/17/1981 the Kansas City Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse killed 114 and injured over 200 after 2,000 people had gathered in the multistory atrium to watch a dance contest. The suspended concrete walkways on the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th floors were packed with spectators. A flawed design change doubled the load on the tie rod connections on the 4th-floor walkway support beams that could barely handle the dead load. “One of the defining features of the hotel was its lobby, which featured a multistory atrium crossed by suspended concrete walkways on the second, third, and fourth levels, with the fourth level walkway directly above the second level walkway.” “The two walkways were suspended from a set of steel tie rods, with the second-floor walkway hanging directly underneath the fourth-floor walkway. The walkway platform was supported on 3 cross-beams suspended by steel rods retained by nuts. The cross-beams were box beams made from C-channels welded toe-to-toe. The original design by Jack D. Gillum and Associates called for three pairs of rods running from the second floor to the ceiling. Investigators eventually determined that this design supported only 60 percent of the minimum load required by Kansas City building codes.” Construction began in 1978 on the 40-story Hyatt Regency Crown Center, and the hotel opened on July 1, 1980.
7/17/1886 a Long Island City, New York firefighter “was fatally injured in the collapse of a building on Vernon Boulevard.”
7/17/1912 an Atlantic City, New Jersey firefighter died “after climbing a flight of narrow metal steps to fight a fire in the clock tower of City Hall, he lifted his lantern to show the city’s chief electrician where the problem was. The lantern came in contact with bared wiring of the arc light – used to light the clock – and a blinding flash occurred. Instantly, 5,700 volts surged through his body as he stood on a tin platform. The metal stairway and metal trim on the entire building became energized and several firefighters were badly shocked and thrown from the stairs by the force of the current. The chief electrician was knocked unconscious for a brief time, but when he came to, he saw flames dancing around Barnett’s prone body. Assisted by a firefighter, they grabbed the firefighter by the feet and pulled him from the platform. The scene became hectic for a time as word reached the street that a stairway had collapsed, and twenty men were dead. Police officers were forced to beat bystanders back to prevent them from entering the building. A doctor attempted to revive the injured firefighter to no avail, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, killed instantly by the jolt.”
7/17/1918 a Chelsea, MA firefighter “death was the result of injuries sustained when a brick wall fell on him at a fire on July 10, 1918.”
7/17/1947 an Oakland, CA firefighter “was killed and five other firefighters were injured in a six-alarm fire, which destroyed and heavily damaged six buildings on Adeline, 21st Street, and Chestnut Streets. He had fallen through the roof of the M. Lerman War Surplus Warehouse at 1946 Adeline Street, where the fire had first started. He, along with other firefighters had just climbed onto the roof when it collapsed in an explosion.”
7/17/1953 a Duluth, MN firefighter “died in the hospital as a result of the severe smoke and gas inhalation sustained the previous day, while operating at a cellar fire in a shoe store.”
7/17/1969 five London, UK firefighters “died when oil tanks exploded as they tackled a riverside blaze at Dudgeons Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. A fire broke out in a tank; the workers signaled that they had extinguished the fire. The Brigade arrived to make sure the tank was safe. That’s when it exploded into a sheet of flames. It was just like a rocket taking off.” As firefighters had no idea what the tanks contained an order was given for a demolition worker to cut through an inspection plate at the bottom of the tank to allow further access. It is thought a spark combined with the flammable vapors inside, led to the fatal explosion. A construction worker was also killed and a further five firefighters were also injured in the explosion.”
7/17/1986 a Lawrence, Kansas firefighter was “killed in an arson fire. The firefighter was killed when a roof beam collapsed while he was inside the home searching for other occupants.”
7/17/1968 a Lincolnwood, IL factory explosion and fire killed one and injured thirty-one near the northwestern edge of Chicago at the National Die Casting Company in a half-block long building that manufactured golf carts and exercise bicycles. “The blast may have been caused by an acetylene torch found “completely blown apart” in the debris.”
7/17/1944 while being loaded an ammunition ship exploded in Port Chicago, California, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, that killed 332. Part of the World War II Pacific military campaign, “the SS Quinault Victory and SS E.A. Bryan, two merchant ships, were being loaded. The holds were being packed with 4,600 tons of explosives–bombs, depth charges, and ammunition. Another 400 tons of explosives were nearby on rail cars. Approximately 320 workers were on or near the pier when at 10:18 p.m. a series of massive explosions over several seconds destroyed everything and everyone in the vicinity. The blasts were felt as far away as Nevada and the resulting damage extended as far as San Francisco. Every building in Port Chicago was damaged and people were knocked off their feet. Smoke and fire extended nearly two miles into the air.” “Poor procedures and lack of training led to the disaster.”
7/17/1908 the Greenwich, CT business district was destroyed, and eight people were injured from a bonfire built by children that started at 11:15 a.m. near a paint shop in the rear of a livery stable and quickly spread. “Simultaneously fires sprang up in different sections of the town so that at one time there were twelve different residences of Summer dwellers burning, some of them a mile from the scene of the big fire.”
7/17/1907 London, ON a three-story building collapse, killed nine. “Crystal Hall, a three-story brick building on Dundas Street and one of the landmarks of London, collapsed and a score of persons were buried under the avalanche of bricks, mortar, and timbers. The falling walls from Crystal Hall fell upon Brewster’s 5 and 10-cent store, a low structure adjoining on the east, completely burying it.”
7/17/1870 an Osceola, PA sawmill fire extended to the town that started around 9:00 p.m.
7/17/1869 the Windsor Hotel was destroyed by a fire that started in the barn about 2:00 p.m. and soon spread to the hotel in Windsor, CT.
7/17/1996 Trans World Airlines Flight 800 (TWA 800) a Boeing 747-100 exploded at 13,000 feet and crashed near East Moriches, New York into the Atlantic Ocean, around 8:31 p.m. 12 minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport in route to Rome, with a stopover in Paris. All 230 people on board were killed; rescue efforts were immense with all victims being recovered and identified.