Dec 12, 2008
A smokejumper is a firefighter who parachutes into forest fires. ``The first actual fire jumps in the history of smoke-jumping were made by Rufus Robinson and Earl Cooley at Marten Creek in the Nez Perce National Forest (Idaho) on July 12, 1940,'' according to Wikipedia.
Photos: HFD and Hawaii History web site
Dec 11, 2008
On Dec. 22, 1999, three members of the Keokuk, Iowa, fire department died during a rescue attempt at a fire in rooming house that also kiled three children. The city was criticized for a lack of adequate firefighter staffing. Only five firefighters were on duty. The blaze, for the most part, faded into history as it occurred two weeks after a warehouse blaze killed six firefighters in Worcester, Massachusetts.
On March 18, 1937, a gas explosion killed about 500 students and faculty at the Consolidated School at New London, Texas. The cause was ``an illegal tap made to a gas line from an oil field,'' according to the April 1937 edition of Fire Engineering. ``The explosion appeared to have the building rise and then fall back in the same place,'' the magazine said.
Dec 10, 2008
``Events on May 9, 1950 changed forever the way Americans would look at the forest fire prevention message. On this day in history, a 5 lb. black bear cub was found after a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains near Capitan, New Mexico. Named Smokey after the poster bear, the cub was later sent to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to become the "living symbol" for fire prevention.'' - Capitan Public Library
On Oct. 8, 1871, The Great Peshtigo Fire swept timberlands across Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan and killed as many as 2,400 people. ``The great Midwestern city of Chicago also happened to endure a terrible fire that same fateful night, and for whatever reasons - an irresistibly charming legend about a cow and a lantern among them - the Chicago Fire became part of the national consciousness while the Peshtigo tragedy gradually slipped into obscurity,'' according to the web site The Great Peshtigo Fire.
On October 20, 1944, liquified natural gas from the East Ohio Gas Co. leaked into sewers in Cleveland, Ohio, and explosions and fires killed 130 people and leveled a square mile of homes and businesses. The tragedy ``led to new and safer methods for the low-temperature storage of natural gas,'' according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
Dec 5, 2008
Nov 12, 2008
On Dec. 28, 1930, fire destroyed the State Capitol at Bismarck, North Dakota, days before the legislature was to meet. The fire may have started in rags used to varnish desks in advance of the session, according to a newspaper account.
On Aug. 30, 1930, a fire sank the gambing ship Monfalcone off Long Beach, California. The vessel carried a ``a vault containing $50,000 in silver, currency and checks'' to the bottom, the Associated Press said. The Monfalcone's "300 fashionably dressed visitors" were evacuated as the ship's orchestra "played lively music,'' the AP said. Divers later searched for the sunken loot.
On Feb. 8, 1922, fire struck the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C. According to a dispatch in a Connecticut newspaper, The Bridgeport Telegram: ``Blazing scaffolding and repair materials, accompanied by the explosion of a barrel of kerosene, on the roof of the Treasury building threatened the structure ... The millions of dollars of the nation's treasure stored in the building was guarded by a cordon of United States marines and secret service men."
On Dec. 1, 1958, a fire at Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago killed 92 students and three nuns - and led to national safety standards. ``While legally in compliance with the fire safety laws of the time, the school was woefully unprepared for any kind of fire. There was only one fire escape, no sprinklers, no automatic fire alarm, no smoke or heat detectors, no alarm connected to the fire department, no fire-resistant stairwells and no fire-safe doors ... The floors had been coated and re-coated many times with flammable petroleum based waxes,'' according to the web site http://www.olafire.com/
Nov 11, 2008
On March 4, 1949, seven firefighters died in a fire and collapse at the F.W. Woolworth & Co. store in downtown Charleston, West Virginia. A dozen or more were injured. Firefighters Richard Gilmer and J.P. ``Jigs'' Little were manning a cellar pipe when the first floor fell into the basement. Gilmer survived. ``I didn't hear or see no more of Jigs at all,'' Gilmer recalled at a memorial service fifty years later.
- George Coates
- J.P. ``Jigs'' Little
- Emory Pauley
- Frank Miller
- Fredie Summers
- Richard McCormick
- Frank Sharp