7/19/1845 a Manhattan, New York firefighter died at “an early-morning blaze, which started in a sperm oil store, rapidly spread down New Street and across Exchange Place to Broad Street. When the fire reached a large warehouse, which contained a large quantity of saltpeter, it burned for a short time and then exploded. The massive blast shook the entire city and was heard as far away as Sandy Hook, NJ. One firefighter and twenty-nine civilians were killed in the explosion, which vaporized the warehouse. The firefighter was blown to shreds and no trace of him was ever found. On the other hand, a firefighter from Engine 16 was on the roof of the warehouse when it blew. The entire roof lifted off the building in the blast, flew across Broad Street, and landed on top of another building. The firefighter suffered nothing more than a dislocated ankle. The explosion destroyed three adjacent buildings and started numerous fires in the area. Many of the city’s hand-drawn fire engines were destroyed in the blast and help had to be called from Brooklyn and Newark, NJ. The fire destroyed everything in its path from the financial district to the tenements of the poor. In the 12 hours the fire raged, over 300 buildings, covering an area of six square blocks, were destroyed and many more were damaged. Losses were placed at $10 million. Severe criticism was later leveled at the City Hall bell ringer. It was stated that had he rang the bell, as was his duty to do, the fire would not have spread beyond the original building.”
7/19/1853 a Waltham, MA firefighter died while he “was operating at a dwelling fire, he was killed when he was caught under a collapsing chimney.”
7/19/1883 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was injured on July 19, 1883, at a fire at 16 Furman Street. A spark from a hoisting engine stationed opposite Pier 2 on Harbeck’s Stores, at 10:30 in the morning, burned three ships to the water’s edge, two lighters, and consumed the entire cargo as well as destroying the dock shed, which was 350 feet long and 60 feet wide. The fire caused the probable loss of at least twenty sailors, injured thirteen firefighters, one fatally. A firefighter of Ladder 3 was working in the shed along with members of Engine 6 and 7. Without warning the main mast of “Lawrence Delap” of Annapolis, Nova Scotia swayed and fell full on the burning shed. The shed cracked, broken, and flatten like a shell. Cries of help could be heard from the ruins. The firefighter was buried under the blazing boards of the roof. In the excitement following the fall, his disappearance went unnoticed. When found after several minutes his head was the only thing showing through a pile of burning boards. His hair was burnt off, his scalp severely scorched and the upper part of his head “roasted to a deep yellow color.” He suffered painfully for six days before expiring on July 25, 1883.”
7/19/1975 a San Lucas, Monterey County, CA firefighter died at “a small, few-acre grass fire just east of Hwy 101 and San Ardo exit. He was walking through the smoke and stepped on the powerline that was back-feeding from the transformer. This accident began the policy of dispatch announcing, “power lines down” and requiring an acknowledgment from all responding units.”
7/19/1972 a Newark Fire Department, NJ firefighter died while he was working at a supermarket fire. “He was sent up to the roof to get other companies off due to an imminent collapse of the roof. He successfully got other units off and as he was coming down the ground ladder the roof collapsed causing him to fall off the ladder. He was treated for his injuries, went home the next day. The firefighter would later have a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital where he died a short time later.”
7/19/1984 a Wichita Falls, TX firefighter died in a mercantile occupancy fire. “On arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke showing from an occupied, one-story, metal-clad furniture store. A hand line was moved into the building about 40 feet when conditions began to rapidly deteriorate, forcing the two firefighters to abandon their line. One of the men became disoriented after tripping over something but was able to make his way out by following the line. He had assumed that his comrade had already made his way out. The other firefighter apparently disoriented after losing the line, never made it out of the building. Due to the heavy fire conditions inside the building, a search could not be immediately conducted. About a half-hour later, his body was found with his air supply depleted. He was pronounced dead of smoke inhalation. The first firefighter suffered second and third-degree burns to his legs and groin and was hospitalized for several weeks.”
7/19/2012 in San Francisco, CA twenty-one participants were burned in a hot coal walk hosted by motivational speaker Tony Robbins. “Walking across hot coals on lanes measuring 10 feet long and heated to between 1,200 to 2,000 degrees provides attendees an opportunity to “understand that there is absolutely nothing you can’t overcome,” according to the motivational speaker’s website.”
7/19/1974 in Decatur, IL a string of liquid propane tank cars exploded leaving seven dead and 120 injured in the Decatur railroad yard. “The first explosion at 5:03 a.m. in the Norfolk and Western Railway yards on the northeast side derailed about 100 cars.” “Flames erupted over the rail yard and continued burning six hours after the first blast. There was a mandatory evacuation in a one-mile radius and officials urged persons to stay at least three miles from the center of the blast.”
7/19/1989 at the Sioux City, IA airport, a Chicago-bound United Airlines DC-10 disabled jet crashed in an explosive ball of fire on an emergency landing; 184 of the 282 passengers survive.
7/19/1960 four workers died in a grain elevator explosion that trapped a worker, a helicopter was used in the rescue in Brownfield, TX.
7/19/1892 several buildings were damaged by a fire that originated in an upper story of the five-story Cooney Building on Canal Street in Providence, RI around 2:00 p.m.
7/19/1881 the Syracuse, NY Opera House burned.
7/19/1867 the Concord, NH railroad yard fire started in a woodshed near the roundhouse belonging to the Northern Railroad and communicated to the adjoining machine shop.