9/20/1929 in Detroit, MI the Study Club, a prohibition speakeasy (nightclub), fire killed twenty-two and injured over fifty in a three-story retrofit mansion. The cause of the fire remains undetermined but may have started in the stairwell by a cigarette. Most windows and the fire escape were inaccessible. The exterior appeared undamaged while the interior was destroyed. The deaths are attributed to asphyxiation.
9/20/1983 two-thirds (39 of the 43 stores) of the Brunswick, Georgia Mall, a shopping center, was destroyed by fire; smoke, heat, and water damaged the remaining stores in the 195,000-square-foot heavy timber construction facility, classified as unprotected noncombustible. There were no fire protection systems or construction design features to limit the spread of fire. The fire started about 2:30 a.m. when the shopping center was unoccupied and spread throughout much of the west end before the fire was reported. The building built in 1968-69 was never awarded a certificate of occupancy in violation of the State Building Code. The fire left about 1,000 people without jobs.
9/20/1896 a Lake County (Colorado) Fire Protection District firefighter was killed when “the Coronado mine owners threatened to reopen the mines with “scab” workers because miners demanded a wage increase to $3.00 a day. The angry miners launched an attack and started a fire at the entrance to the mine. The fire quickly spread, and the mayor ordered the fire department’s response to save the town. By now, the tension between the groups had reached a peak. Firefighters were warned by the striking union members to let the mine burn. The firefighter could not hear the warning. An angry union member at the mine shot one firefighter when he picked up a hose and begin fighting the fire.”
9/20/1929 a Belleville, Ontario, Canada firefighter died after he responded “to a fire a Springer Lock Company on Coleman Street. The fire in the roof was under control when he arrived on the scene, but he still had smoke coming from the Cupola. He and three other firefighters went into the attic to investigate. As they were investigating, a beam broke under their weight, they were able to grab the floor joist and keep from falling, at the same time, one firefighter lost his balance and fell to the floor below, some 25 feet, sustaining a serious injury on the concrete floor. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.”
9/20/1958 a Toledo, Ohio firefighter “died from the injuries he sustained while operating at a three-alarm fire from a ladder when a wall collapsed throwing him to the ground, at S & S Distributors, 1100 West Central.”
9/20/1975 a Guelph, Ontario, Canada firefighter died at an apartment fire on Kathleen Street. “They were meet with heavy smoke from Floor #5, with the report of a father and infant trapped on the 5th floor. The firefighter immediately took the elevator to the fire floor to attempt a rapid rescue before conditions worsened. Two other firefighters took the stairs and located the two trapped occupants and took them to a balcony and waited to be rescued due to increased fire conditions. They used an aerial platform to rescue the four trapped on the balcony and transported them to the hospital. While searching the fire floor, the missing firefighter was found in a garbage chute closet, unconscious and not breathing. He was removed to the floor below, and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation.”
9/20/1975 three McGehee, AR firefighters “were killed while trying to extinguish a blaze at the Dollar General Store at the corner of First and Oak.”
9/20/1991 a Sherwood, North Dakota firefighter died after burns he received on September 15, 1991. “He was badly burned when there was a wind shift at an oil storage tank fire. Six other firefighters were injured. Volunteers were trying to circle the fire when the wind shifted, and they became disoriented in the smoke. Burning oil from one tank sprayed the town’s only fire truck. One tank was nearly empty and the other held about 12,000 gallons of oil that were lost in the fire. The firefighter died of the injuries he sustained five days earlier at the fire. A second firefighter would also die of his injuries September 21, 1991.”
9/20/1916 an explosion in the air-dry building of the Aetna Explosives Company plant at Mt. Union, PA killed five.
9/20/1909 the Sandstone, MN schoolhouse was destroyed by fire.
9/20/1900 in Providence, LA the Edgewood Plantation House fire killed four children locked in the house and unable to escape while their parents were at church.
9/20/1897 in Appleton, WI Waverly Hotel was destroyed by a fire around 3:00 a.m. “The hotel was in the process of repair before being taken over by a new management when it was destroyed.”
9/20/1897 the Belle Ellen, near Blocton in Bibb County, AL mine fire killed five.
9/20/1896 the lumber mills, cabinet factory, grist mills, and considerable lumber were destroyed by a fire in Berlin, New Hampshire.