8/2/1978 six firefighters were killed at the Waldbaum’s Supermarket fire in Brooklyn, NY when the central portion of roof collapsed. Thirty-five FDNY firefighters were operating on the roof of the four-alarm fire that started in the hallway near the compressor room during renovations, in less than one-hour the roof failed dropping twelve firefighters into the flames, thirty-four responders were injured. Just prior to the collapse, Louise O’Conner, Wife of FF William O’Conner was at the scene of the fire with her three small children. While FF O’Conner was operating on the roof, he waved to his family, and then they waved back, shortly thereafter the roof collapsed, taking her husbands, and the father of her children’s life. “The fire started at 8:40 a.m. in Waldbaum’s supermarket located at 2892 Avenue Y and Ocean Avenue in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. Nearly 23 electricians, plumbers and contractors were renovating the building when the fire was discovered in mezzanine area. Box 3300 was transmitted at 08:39 hours and the All Hands transmitted at 08:49 and subsequently a 2nd-alarm at 09:02 hrs. Shortly after 09:20, with thirty-five firefighters operating on the bowstring truss roof, a crackling sound was heard and the center portion of the roof fell into the smoke and flames. Some of the firefighters were seen running toward the edge of the roof; some made it, others nearby fell into the gaping hole. The third alarm was transmitted at 9:18. The 3rd-alarm and subsequently escalated to a fifth-alarm assignment during the rescue and recovery operations. Laborers and firefighters managed to pull out some who were near walls, some crawled out. Several holes were made into the wall to pull out injured survivors and victims. The approximately 120-foot X 120-foot primary building was originally built in 1952 as a supermarket and at the time of the fire was undergoing extensive renovations and was open and operating. Constructed with exterior masonry bearing walls with timber roof trusses with a 100-foot clear span, supported on pilaster columns embedded in the exterior walls, it was classical Type III construction. The truss system supported an ornamental tin ceiling and 18 inches below that concealed space a conventional suspended acoustic ceiling tile panel system. Reports indicated the tin ceiling was attached directly to the bottom cord of the truss system. A two-story mezzanine and machine room was located at the north wall of the original building. Access through the truss loft area was through man-doors at the plane of each truss. The timber bowstring arch roof consisted of seven (7) truss units constructed of 4-5 bundled 3-inch x 12-inch attached assemblies. Two factors contributed to the collapse of the bowstring arch truss system: the double roof (rain roof) alterations with concealed spaces, and the extent and severity of the fire within the concealed spaces affecting the assembly’s structural stability. The failure of operating companies and command personnel to recognize the signs of an unchecked concealed fire that was propagating at a rapid pace impinging upon critical structural assembly points was a significant contributing factor in the incident outcome.” … Chief Vincent Dunn points out, “the final report of the fire department’s investigation into the supermarket roof collapse stated that the firefighters had died partly because “the extent, the severity, and to some extent, the location of the fire had not been clearly defined prior to the collapse.” One of the most important size-up duties of first-in chiefs and company officers is locating the fire and determining its severity. This information lays the foundation for the entire operation…First, it determines the number of firefighters and amount of equipment needed to control the blaze. Second, until the location and extent of the fire are known, firefighters cannot determine the overall life hazard, the most effective point of fire attack, and the most efficient method of venting heat and smoke…Sometimes, however, the location and severity of a fire cannot be assessed by the chiefs and company officers first on the scene. This inability is often caused by alterations or unusual construction of the fire building. In a fire that killed 12 FDNY firefighters in 1966, the exact location of the fire was not discovered because of alterations. Similarly, the severity and extent of the Brooklyn supermarket fire was not “clearly defined” because of three factors: an unusual alteration called a “rain roof,” the fire-retarding compartmentation of the trusses, and the large heat collection space created by the bowstring design of the structure.”
8/2/1890 a Lynn, MA firefighter “died after suffering the effects of smoke inhalation while operating at a fire at the G.F. Barto & Company building on Munroe Street.”
8/2/1894 two Philadelphia, PA firefighters died “while operating at an extremely smoky three-alarm blaze that involved two wool mills and a carpet cleaning plant, they were killed when they were caught under a collapsing wall.”
8/2/1894 a Detroit, MI firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained after being caught in a building collapse.”
8/2/1907 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) “died as a result of the severe skull fracture he sustained July 28, 1907, when he was struck by a falling beam while operating at a fire.”
8/2/1914 a Seattle, Washington firefighter “died as a result of severe burns sustained on July 30, 1914, when he was caught in the flashover of the Grand Truck Dock Company fire. A fireboat crew rescued him after he and another fireman were forced to jump into the river.”
8/2/1942 a Baltimore, Maryland firefighter “died as a result of critical burns he sustained in an explosion on July 28, 1942.”
8/2/2000 a four-alarm fire completely destroyed an 85,000 square foot multi-tenanted warehouse in Phoenix, AZ that started around 4:58 p.m. Two tenants, a home and garden supply company, and a pharmaceuticals distributor occupied the warehouse at 38th Place and Broadway. Fire crews reported that a portion of the west tilt-panel concrete wall was leaning outward and a collapse hazard existed at 5:11 p.m. and by 5:17 p.m. most of the south wall had collapsed.
8/2/1973 Summerland Leisure Centre fire killed fifty in the Isle of Man, England.
8/2/1960 Brownfield, TX a grain elevator explosion killed three and left one missing.
8/2/1933 the old wooden boat house on the banks of the Cocheco, NH was completely destroyed by fire at 3:00 a.m.
8/2/1900 Montana Coal & Coke a mine explosion killed one near Aldridge, Montana.
8/2/1910 New York, NY the ferry boat Secaucus collided with the coal pier and burns resulting in panic.