On 8/11/1874 the first sprinkler head was patented by Henry S. Parmalee of New Haven, Connecticut who is considered the inventor of the first practical automatic sprinkler head. Parmalee improved upon the Pratt patent and created a better sprinkler system. In 1874, he installed his fire “modern” sprinkler system in the piano factory that he owned. “Until the 1940s, sprinklers were installed almost exclusively for the protection of commercial buildings, whose owners were generally able to recoup their expenses with savings in insurance costs.”
On 8/11/1919 the Dominion Park Scenic Railway fire in Montreal, Quebec killed nine. The fire was discovered around 5:35 p.m. and may have been caused by a careless cigarette or a lighted match. The fire spread quickly. “Dominion Park stood on the Montreal waterfront. It had band concerts, it had rides, it had photographers who could give you a print in only half an hour, everything for an afternoon of harmless amusement. One of the rides was the Mystic Rill. It was a kind of tunnel of love, with small boats following an enclosed, winding watercourse. Inside this tunnel, the mysterious gloom would suddenly be illuminated by hidden lamps, here to show a painted dragon, there to reveal weird rock-like formations made from cleverly draped cloth. And it was a firetrap. The flimsy wood-and-cloth construction, the tar that made it watertight, the darkness, and the absence of proper emergency exits all made sure of that. There were perhaps four or five boats in the tunnel when the disaster struck, probably the result of a carelessly dropped cigarette or match. Smoke began to build up and flames spread with devastating speed. For the boats and their helpless passengers, there was no turning back. The pumps that made the water flow pushed them relentlessly forward. One boatload was spared by a fluke. A salesman was with his two young sons, together with two other boys unknown to them. With the tunnel beginning to collapse in flames ahead of them, the salesman noticed a small window in the wall a little ahead. Somehow, he managed to stand and grasp the windowsill with one arm as they swept by. Holding the boat with his feet against the inexorable current, he stooped, then boosted each boy through the window with his free arm before scrambling outside to safety himself. For others in the tunnel, there was no such chance for a future. Most were teenagers.”
On 8/11/2019 “five children died in a fire in an overnight daycare, and a mother was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital after an early morning fire in West Erie, Pennsylvania. The house fire at 1248 W. 11th Street was reported around 1:15 a.m. with reports of multiple people trapped inside. Seven people had to be rescued from the home, including five young children. Firefighters were able to pull everyone out of the burning house. First responders were doing chest compressions and trying to revive them as they were taken from the scene on stretchers.”
On 8/11/1926 a Bayside, New York, FDNY, firefighter “was overcome by gas in a cesspool rescuing workers at 65 Bell Blvd.”
On 8/11/1976 a Danville, Illinois firefighter “died while fighting a residential fire at the northwest corner of North Vermilion and Voorhees Streets. He responded to the fire in command of firefighters from Station #3. After the fire was successfully extinguished, he and three other firefighters set up a temporary light plant outside of the house to provide light during salvage and overhaul operations. He soon returned to the second floor of the house, where he collapsed.”
On 8/11/2019 two “firefighters died in South-West Limburg (Belgium). Firefighters were operating in the vacant structure (occupied by the homeless) when a flashover occurred. When conditions changed the firefighters were ordered out, but several did not make it out and suffered significant injuries; others gave their lives. Several firefighters were transported. There have been previous fires in this vacant structure.”
On 8/11/2021 a Frederick County, Maryland firefighter died after falling through a floor at a single-family dwelling fire in the town of Ijamsville around 5:00 p.m. He was assigned to the first engine on the scene. He entered the home and fell from the floor into the basement where he broadcasted a “Mayday” calling for rescue operations.
On 8/11/1922 a Shelter Island, New York hotel was destroyed by fire, apparatus responded by ferryboat. The Hotel Poggatticut, formerly the Prospect House, with nearly 250 guests lost most of their belongings. The fire started in the cupola of the hotel shortly after noon; an “explosion of the valet’s gasoline stove used to heat irons for pressing clothes is blamed.”
On 8/11/1914 in San Diego, Texas the Duval County Courthouse, a large two-story frame structure, was destroyed by fire.
On 8/11/1889 the five-story Augusta, Georgia Orphan Asylum was destroyed by fire, and firefighters were handicapped by a lack of water.
On 8/11/1886 the Wetherald & Wells Window Glass Works was destroyed by a fire that started before noon in Massillon, Ohio.
On 8/11/2013 several buildings were affected by a 100-foot-wide sinkhole that formed under a resort building near Disney World in central Florida; one three-story building collapsed, and another sank at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, thirty-five people escaped the structures.
On 8/11/1892 a heavy stone wall collapse killed five and injured two others around 3:45 p.m. at the Hartford City Glass Works in Hartford City, Indiana. The collapse “was caused by the pressure of the heavy dirt filling placed behind the wall and defective masonry. At the time of the accident the men were attempting to prop the wall.”