Rekindles sidebar 12/13: FDNY Battalion Chief John Howe: A Fireman's Fireman

T he FDNY Department Order dated Dec. 23, 1913, announced the retirement of Battalion Chief John P. Howe at 8 A.M., Dec. 24, 1913. This was, and still is, common practice in the FDNY. All appointments, promotions, retirements, departmental charges and...


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Howe retired from the FDNY on Dec. 24, 1913 at 8 A.M. During his 25-year career, he saved the lives of countless firefighters and civilians. At the time of his retirement, he was the only member of the department to have been placed on the Roll of Merit 10 times. A fireman from Ladder 10 who worked with Howe for years said, “Johnny Howe has a record of rescues and brave acts in times of danger as long as your arm. He is one of the most modest men in the department, and for that reason only has three medals. If he were to tell of all the brave things he has done, he would have to get two shirts to keep all his medals on.”

Howe died at his home on East 93rd Street on Nov. 17, 1917, at the age of 44.

—Paul Hashagen