7/30/1916 the Black Tom Island explosion in Jersey City, NJ was an act of sabotage on ammunition supplies by German agents during WW I that left seven dead in a series of explosions of munitions on the Jersey shore side of New York Harbor starting at 2:08 a.m. The depot was deliberately sabotaged to prevent supplies from being delivered to Britain and France. A shortage of cargo ships created stockpiles of ammunition and explosives to sit in warehouses, railroad box cars, and on barges belonging to the Lehigh Valley Railroad. That night “about 2,000,000 pounds of small arms and artillery ammunition were stored at the depot in freight cars and on barges, including 100,000 pounds of TNT on Johnson Barge No. 17… At 2:08 a.m., the first and largest of the explosions took place, the second and smaller explosion occurring around 2:40 am. A notable location for one of the first major explosions was around the Johnson Barge No. 17, which contained 50 tons of TNT and 417 cases of detonating fuses. The explosion created a detonation wave that traveled at 24,000 feet per second with enough force to lift firefighters out of their boots and into the air. The force of the second blast sent shrapnel from the exploding shells, bullets and debris as well as glass and wood flying down upon the island, causing significant damage to the island’s 17 buildings. Much of the debris came from a storage warehouse on the west side of the island that was destroyed. The subsequent explosions and shower of debris lasted for two hours. Several pieces of shrapnel became embedded in the right side of the Statue of Liberty, facing Black Tom Island. The shock wave from the second blast pushed the torch arm against the crown of the statue, damaging the structure’s internal framework. At the main entrance of Fort Wood, a four-inch-thick iron door was wrenched off its hinges and pushed inward as if by a giant hand. However, the torch of the Statue of Liberty remained illuminated throughout the ordeal…Although closer to Black Tom Island, the brick buildings on Ellis Island sustained the blast well. Although windows were blown out and the roof of the Main Building collapsed, the sturdy brick buildings survived intact…Fearing further attack, and building collapse, the immigrant detainees and staff on Ellis Island, and civilian women and children on Bedloe’s Island were quickly ferried to Battery Park and Governor’s Island for safety… Thousands of windows in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City were broken by the explosions… Property damage from the attack was estimated at $20,000,000 (equivalent to about $470,000,000 in 2019). On the island, the explosion destroyed more than one hundred railroad cars, thirteen warehouses, and left a 375-by-175-foot crater at the source of the explosion.”
7/30/2002 two Osceola County (FL) firefighters, (a Lieutenant and a Firefighter) died during live fire training in a vacant 1,462 square foot single-story concrete block single-family residential occupancy after a window was broken out and the fire room flashed over. “Members of Osceola County Fire-Rescue and the Orlando Fire Department were conducting live fire training in a vacant 1,462 square foot single-story concrete block single-family residential occupancy. The residence was on the site of a college that had been closed. Prior to the start of the exercises, all firefighters on the scene participated in a walk-through of the structure. The object of the exercise was for two firefighters to enter the structure in full structural protective clothing and SCBA and search for a rescue mannequin dressed in protective clothing. Once the mannequin was located, the firefighters were to remove the mannequin from the structure. Two other teams were assigned to enter the structure and control the fire. Four instructors were placed inside the structure to monitor safety. A Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) consisting of two firefighters stood by outside the structure. During the first evolution of the day, the mannequin was placed in the kitchen in the western portion of the structure. A bedroom in the northeast portion of the structure was used as the point of origin for the fire. The bedroom was just inside of the front door of the structure on the right side of the hallway. Fuel for the fire consisted of pallets and straw placed in and outside of a closet in the bedroom. The fuel was ignited with a road flare. Some time prior to the beginning of the training evolution, a foam mattress was placed on top of the burning pallets and straw. The two firefighters entered the structure as the search and rescue team at 10:11. They entered the bedroom to perform a search as the first attack team entered the structure behind them. The second attack team stood by at the front door. When firefighters entered the structure, they found zero visibility with heavy heat and smoke. The safety officer monitoring the interior lost track of the search and rescue team, thinking that they had exited the fire room and passed him. The safety officer began to search the rest of the structure in an attempt to locate the two firefighters. At that time, the attack team began to apply water in short bursts to the fire room as the windows of the room were broken out by a firefighter on the exterior. A great deal of steam was produced as the water was applied. When the window was broken out, the fire room flashed over. The firefighter who had ventilated the window reached inside and found the heat damaged shell of a firefighter’s helmet. The helmet discovery was reported to the IC. The IC asked repeatedly for an accountability report from the search and rescue team with no answer. The second attack team entered the structure and extinguished the fire in the area of origin. After the fire was controlled, the firefighters from the second attack team began to overhaul the room. They found a form on the floor in fire fighter’s protective clothing and assumed that the form was the training mannequin. The IC did not receive any response to his calls to the search and rescue team, so he ordered a personnel accountability report and ordered the RIT to enter the structure and find the search and rescue team. The time was 11:20. Positive personnel accountability reports were received from all teams except the search and rescue team. The IC ordered an evacuation of the structure. As the second attack team began to leave the structure, they reached down to drag out the form that they thought was a mannequin and found that the form was one of the missing firefighters. As he was removed through the window, the body of the second firefighter was found. The report of firefighters down was transmitted at 10:24. Both firefighters were provided with ALS-level EMS services and transported to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.”
7/30/1919 a Manhattan, New York (FDNY) firefighter “was overcome by ammonia fumes at 449 W. 13th Street and died.”
7/30/1927 two Atlanta, Georgia firefighters died “while operating at a multiple-alarm fire in a grain company. Firefighters were advancing a line up a ladder when a wall suddenly collapsed, burying several men under tons of burning rubble. The two firefighters were killed in the collapse and six others were seriously injured.”
7/30/1935 a Saugus, MA firefighter “was killed in an acetylene explosion and fire. Two other firefighters were critically burned but recovered from their injuries.”
7/30/1940 a Camden, New Jersey firefighter died at an industrial complex fire. “In the midst of a two-week heat wave, an explosion in mixing vat occurred in one of several five-story brick factory buildings that comprised a large industrial complex. The company manufactured highly volatile products, including floor wax, furniture polish, cigarette lighter fluid, etc. On arrival, firefighters were greeted by a massive fire, which had already spread to other buildings in the complex and to several surrounding dwellings and stores. The fire quickly went to four alarms as multiple explosions of gasoline, naphtha, oils, and solvents rocked the area. Mutual aid was called from Philadelphia. As the fire grew to conflagration proportions, additional help was called from Camden County, resulting in close to 20-alarms-worth of apparatus being called to stop the rapidly spreading fire. The fire burned for close to 24 hours before being controlled. Demolition experts were called in the next morning to dynamite portions of the ruins to allow firefighters to gain access for final extinguishment. Scores of buildings were either destroyed or damaged, resulting in 400 people being left homeless. The fire took the lives of ten employees, the firefighter died due to heat exhaustion while operating at the blaze.”
7/30/1946 four San Francisco, CA firefighters died at the Herbert Hotel fire. The first firefighter fatality, was pulled from the night club entrance of the Herbert Hotel, asphyxiated by fumes and badly seared. He died at Mission Emergency. Two firefighters were attempting to control the flames in the kitchen of the Herbert Hotel, when the flare-up drove them back. One fell into the pool of water and was drowned, and the other was buried under collapsing debris. The body of the fourth firefighter, buried under a ton of debris, and was recovered from the rear of the basement after it had been pumped out. He had apparently fallen into the flooded cellar when the floor collapsed. The body was not badly burned.”
7/30/2013 eight workers were injured in Tavares, FL after an explosion at the Blue Rhino Plant, a propane refilling facility. Equipment failure and human error likely caused the incident, there were approximately 53,000 20-pound cylinders of propane on site.
7/30/2013 a fire destroyed a biodiesel plant in Sedgwick, KS that started about 8:00 a.m. at a facility operated by Green Energy Products. “Crews from five jurisdictions responded to the fire and had it under control by noon, officials said. But early on they faced an unpredictable situation with burning biodiesel, corn oil and methanol.”
7/30/1985 a fire started beneath a steam table located inside the second-floor main dining room of the Bayview Restaurant in Seaside Park, New Jersey shortly after 7:00 p.m. with eighty patrons in the room of origin, all narrowly escaped. The fire started when a flexible metal hose, connecting a 20-pound LP-Gas cylinder to a steam table, failed, ignited and spread rapidly to adjacent combustible interior finish within the dining room. NFPA 58, Standard for the Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases, generally, prohibits the use of LP-Gas cylinder inside buildings.
7/30/1956 the Reagan Nursing Home fire killed twelve of the thirteen residents in Puxico, MO in an old three-story building that opened as nursing home 21 months before the fire.
7/30/1912 the Danforth House (hotel) fire in Fairlee, VT killed four and injured two others. The fire is believed to have started in the pine decorations surrounding the fireplace and was discovered at 6:30 a.m. with about thirty guests in the house and nearly all were asleep; flames spread quickly to all parts of the house.
7/30/1916 four miners were killed and two severely injured in a gas explosion in Springside mine near Pana, IL around 7:00 p.m.
7/30/1898 Beckwith, CA, on the Sierra Valley Railroad line, conflagration burned all but four buildings.