"THE SUPREME SACRIFICE"

By Hank Przybylowicz

February 1


On this date in history, the following members of the fire service made "The Supreme Sacrifice:"


1860 - TROY, NY
Vol. F/F Thomas Graham - Engine 4
While pulling the engine to a fire, firefighters soon lost control of the engine as they began to descend down an ice- covered incline. Graham and his brother were holding the tongue of the engine and attempted to regain control. The speeding engine then jumped a sidewalk, forcing Graham's head into a barber's pole, which was mounted on a thick post. The engine then crashed into the front of a hotel, where Graham was crushed between the engine and the building. Blood spurting from his crushed and mangled body, he was carried into the hotel, where doctors pronounced him dead.

1887 - MANHATTAN, NY
F/F Francis J. Quinn - Engine 29
He died as a result of smoke inhalation and burns sustained while operating at a fire on January 2.

1893 - BALTIMORE, MD
Fire Chief John Hennick - Age 57 - 25-year veteran
He died as a result of injuries sustained at a bakery fire on August 4, 1887. Even though he had returned to duty, he never fully recovered from the critical injuries he suffered there. During his time with the department he had been shot four times by a rival fire company, severely burned in a gasoline explosion, and caught in three building collapses.

1904 - BROOKLYN, NY
F/F Peter J. Gaffeney - Engine 238
He died as a result of toxic fumes inhaled the previous day, while operating at a four-alarm fire in a jute and hemp warehouse. Two other firefighters died at the fire due to the toxic fumes given off by the burning jute.

1912 - CAMBRIDGE, MA
Lt. Exurie J. Ouimette - Age 49 - Ladder 3 - 23-year veteran
He was killed while responding to an alarm, when Chemical 1 broadsided Ladder 3. Several other firefighters were injured in the wreck.

1922 - BUFFALO, NY
F/F Walter Farrell - Battalion 4 Aide
He died in the performance of his duties.

1946 - BALTIMORE, MD
Lt. Frederick P. Klaburner - Age 74 - Engine 42 - 30-year veteran
On arrival, in answer to a still alarm, the members of Engine 42 found heavy smoke billowing from a bowling alley. The lieutenant ordered the box struck and then went to work stretching a line into the rear of the building, where fire was showing. Just as they were ready to open the nozzle on the flames, a thunderous explosion occurred, followed by a mass of flames. As one of the men was running for his life, he noticed the lieutenant was missing. He tried to go back for him, but was seriously burned and collapsed necessitating his own rescue. The six-alarm fire rapidly spread throughout the bowling alley and extended to a row of stores before being brought under control. The burned body of Klaburner was later found in the charred ruins. Ironically, he had put his retirement papers in that morning. All of his 30 years on the job were spent in Engine 42.

1946 - COLUMBUS, OH
Lt. Henry E. Myers - Engine 7 - 21 year veteran
While operating at a fire, he died as a result of a fractured skull when he slipped and fell on the ice, striking his head on the pumper.

1953 - MANHATTAN, NY
Dep. Chief Terrance P. Conaty - Division 5
He died in the performance of his duties.

1985 - CHICAGO, IL
Capt. Daniel Nockels - Age 56 - Truck 58
F/F Michael L. Forchione - Age 29 - Truck 58
F/F Michael Talley - Age 30 - Truck 58
They were killed when the roof they were operating on collapsed, plunging them into the burning building below. The three-alarm arson fire was in a one and two-story brick commercial building occupied by an electronics firm on the first floor with occupied apartments above. Another firefighter was injured in the collapse and suffered serious second-degree burns to his face, neck, and thighs. He managed to pull himself out of the hole and then he was pulled off the roof by another firefighter coming up a ladder. Firefighters had to breach walls to reach the fallen men and it took several hours to recover their bodies.

1994 - SAND SPRINGS, OK
Vol. F/F Marilyn K. Williams - Keystone VFD
She suffered a fatal heart attack while stretching a line in at a fire in a mobile home.

1995 - CLAUDE, TX
Vol. F/F Marcus King - Age 15
He died as a result of severe head trauma sustained the previous day, after extinguishing a brush fire, when a train struck the brush fire unit he was riding in as it crossed the railroad tracks. The driver of the rig died February 4th as a result of injuries sustained in the wreck.

1996 - KAUAI, HI
F/F Steven Gushiken - Kauai County FD
While on duty, he took a routine early-morning walk in the park adjacent to the fire station. When the rest of the shift woke up later, they found him lying unconscious on the ground. CPR was initiated and he was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lay me down beside cool waters,
And lay to rest my body sore.
Send the word out to my brothers,
The fire is down, let it burn no more.
- Charlie Ball -
"Fireman's Prayer"


Let us not forget these brave souls who unselfishly gave their lives in the performance of their duties. Let us all take a moment out of our busy day to say a prayer for these fallen soldiers of the Lord, and ask that He grant them eternal rest and peace in His Kingdom. Also ask that He watch over and protect the member's loved ones who were left behind.


The Supreme Sacrifice© is a product of the Line of Duty Research Service. This product may not be used in any form for commercial venture or for monetary gain without the expressed written permission of the Line of Duty Research Service. Copyright© 2000. All rights reserved.