On 9/7/1943 the Gulf Hotel fire claimed fifty-five lives in the early-morning hours in downtown Houston, Texas. “The hotel was located on the northwest corner of Louisiana and Preston Streets and occupied the upper two floors of a three-story Type III Ordinary Construction brick and joist building, with a variety of retail businesses occupying the first floor. It was an inexpensive hotel near the city’s bus depot and reportedly had 87 beds, most divided from one another by thin wooden partitions. Second-floor rooms could be rented for 40 cents a night and cots in a communal space on the third floor could be rented for half that cost. The guest log showed 133 names registered on the night of the fire. The hotel was occupied principally by old men, many of them on government relief, and transient laborers in the area looking for work in the factories turning out military hardware for the war effort… The night clerk smelled smoke shortly before midnight. He searched the hotel and found a smoldering mattress on the second floor. After dousing the mattress with a bucket of water, he and several guests lugged the damaged mattress into a nearby hall closet. The clerk returned to the lobby and about an hour later noticed the odor of smoke getting stronger. Seconds later, he heard cries of “fire” echoing from upstairs as the mattress erupted in flames. The fire spread quickly through the second floor and headed toward the third floor via the unenclosed interior staircase. There were two exits from the hotel, both on the Preston Street side, one an interior staircase, the other an exterior fire escape… The building burned for three hours before firefighters could enter and begin carrying out the dead and injured. Firefighters recovered the bodies from the burned-out building. One of the bodies hung out of a third-floor window after the man had been unable to escape. By the time the fire was extinguished, 55 men were dead; 38 men were burned to death, 15 died of smoke inhalation, and two jumped to their death… The Fire Marshal reported that the hotel had been cited a few days earlier for failure to install exit lights. Hotel management was given two weeks to correct the violation. At the time of the fire, this had not been done. Fire department inspectors had planned to reexamine the premises the day after the fire to see whether the lights had been installed. The absence of the lights is believed to have contributed materially to the heavy death toll… The housing of transient workers and disabled persons in a combustible building with an unenclosed interior stairwell, inadequate and poorly marked fire escapes, and the lack of fire alarms and sprinklers are a recipe for disaster.”
On 9/7/1880 two Saint Louis, Missouri firefighters died “while fighting a fire from the roof, the roof collapsed killing the two firefighters and several others were injured.”
On 9/7/1915 a Bronx, New York (FDNY) firefighter died “trying to help a boy who fell into an excavation at 138th Street, near Cypress Avenue. The firefighter fell twenty-five feet into the excavation. His skull was fractured. Aaron Steinburg, twelve years old, of 609 East 138th Street, escaped with lacerations of the scalp. Both were taken to Lincoln Hospital where the firefighter died the next day from his injuries.”
On 9/7/1924 a Hartford, Connecticut firefighter lost his life while operating at a fire.
On 9/7/1930 a Chicago, Illinois firefighter was fatally injured while fighting a fire at a drug store at 656 West Madison Street on September 6, 1930. He was climbing a ladder when it slipped, causing him to fall more than twenty-five feet to the sidewalk below. He died the following day, at West Side Hospital.
On 9/7/1931 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died “after being overcome by smoke while operating at a fire.”
On 9/7/1939 two Philadelphia, Pennsylvania firefighters “died from injuries they sustained when a chimney collapsed on them, on September 6, 1939.”
On 9/7/1964 an Anne Arundel County, Maryland firefighter “died after suffering smoke inhalation while fighting a warehouse fire the day before. He was wearing his breathing apparatus at the time of the fire.”
On 9/7/1977 a Collingwood, Ontario, Canada firefighter died “on the night of September 7th, when he and the Collingwood Fire Department responded to a shed fire on Third Street in town. The firefighter arrived in the second truck and as he was about to take command, he suddenly collapsed and was rushed to the General and Marine Hospital, where he died.”
On 9/7/1977 a Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada firefighter “died at the Standard and Shell Oil terminals on Stewart Avenue, when it was destroyed by fire.”
On 9/7/2018 a Sturgis, South Dakota firefighter “was killed when a propane tank near the house that was fully engulfed in flames experienced a catastrophic failure and ruptured in an event known as a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE. Shortly after 4:00 p.m. Friday, firefighters responded to a report of the fire. Upon their arrival, Sturgis firefighters found a single-family dwelling fully engulfed in fire. Several outbuildings on the property and adjacent properties were catching fire or threatened; several propane tanks were also threatened. Firefighters made their initial attack, summoned mutual aid, and nearby residents were being evacuated. It was at this time that they learned of a missing individual, last seen in the residence. As they attempted to fight the fire and locate the missing person, a nearby propane tank exploded killing the firefighter. A Meade County sheriff deputy also was injured in the fire and was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
On 9/7/1903 a Port Arthur, Texas whaleback Steamship the “City of Everett” burned and destroyed the oil wharf while taking on a cargo of crude petroleum. The fire most likely started from a defective electric light; two explosions occurred and quickly covered the vessel with flames.
On 9/7/1895 near Calumet, Michigan the Osceola Mine fire killed thirty.