Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


  • On  May 8, 1920, fire destroyed the men's building at the Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society hospital in Denver. Sparks from the power plant smokestack ignited the blaze. [Oak Creek Times, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection]
  • On Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, 1920, rioting broke out during the Denver streetcar strike. Seven people died of gunshots. Two streetcars were set ablaze at 40th and Williams. Rioters also attempted to set fire to a car barn. Additionally, street cars were overturned and vandalized and the Denver Post building was ransacked. Federal troops from Fort Logan restored order. ["Tramway Strike of 1920," By Edward Thomas Devine et al]
  • Sept. 6, 1920: Ten persons were killed and 100 others were injured when two interurban electric cars of the Denver & Interurban Railroad collided head-on at Globeville, Colorado. Among the dead was Judge R.S. Morrison. [Electric Railway Journal, Sept. 18, 1920] A later account placed the death toll at 12 and more than 200 injured.
  • On Sept. 10, 1920, John S. Federhen, 30, a member of the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Fire Department, was shot to death inside the city fire station by a Chinese man fleeing an immigration official. Federal agent Thomas Holland, 48, was also wounded and died about a week later. The assailant, Yee Geow, was executed by hanging on March 11, 1921.
  • On Dec. 22, 1921, fire destroyed the chemistry building at Colorado State University in Fort Collins; low water pressure prevented firefighters from attacking the blaze. The building was in flames when the alarmed was turned in from Box 81 at Laurel and College avenues at 2:30 a.m. "sharp" by C.M. Cooksie, a member of the Alpha Psi fraternity. [Fort Collins Courier, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection]
  • March 1, 1922, fire destroyed the Pueblo Opera House.
  • June 21, 1922: Fire at Western Laundry Company in central Denver. "The fire was going through the roof and the building was entirely involved when the department arrived at 6:08 p.m. in response to a box alarm. This was owing to the fact that the night watchman lost fully a half an hour in attempting to fight the fire himself with the aid of a garden hose. By the time he realized that he could not extinguish the fire the entire building was in flames. He then called the fire department." [From Fire and Water Engineering, Aug. 9, 1922 edition]
  • On March 17, 1923: Fire destroyed the stockyards in Pueblo during a blizzard.  [Telluride Daily Journal, Colorado Historical Newspapers Collection]
    On Dec. 31, 1923, overheated furnaces caused a pair of fatal apartment house fires as Denver contended with temperatures below zero. [Associated Press]. The first fire, at 13th and Acoma streets, claimed the life of Beatrice Jones, 38, a school teacher, who jumped from a third-floor window. Two other teachers, Evelyn Larrimore and Mary Olson, were injured. The second fire, at 21st and Tremont streets, killed Eula Kramer, who was trapped by the flames. Three other people -- Earl Duskey, his sister Beatrice Duskey and Myrtle Wheelock -- were injured when they fell or jumped. [AP story in Miami News-Metropolis.
  • On about Aug. 8, 1924, the U.S. government land office in Cheyenne, Wyoming, received word that the settlement of Cold Springs was destroyed by a forest fire. Two fires in the Elk Mountain district were reported by air mail pilots. Four fires in the Green Mountain district were also burning. [The Rock Valley Bee, Rock Valley, Iowa
  • On Jan. 6, 1925, fire destroyed the National Hotel in Durango, Colorado, sending guests jumping from windows into a snowbank. The blaze also threatened the Palace Hotel. [Longmont Daily Times, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection] 
  • On Dec. 4-5, 1925, members of the Denver Fire Department participated in the rescue of 32 miners trapped by a fire at the Fairview mine near Nederland in Boulder County. [Associated Press dispatch in Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington] Rescuers drilled an emergency shaft through "40 feet of rock and earth." John Crenshaw (sic), a Denver fire captain, was seriously overcome by fumes, Denver Fire Chief John Healy said. Clarence Jansen, a Denver fire lieutenant, was pulled to the surface in a "semi-conscious state" after he had given his gas mask to the crippled fire captain.
  • On Dec. 16, 1926, fire struck the main manufacturing building at American Crate and Basket Co., 4700 Clarkson St., Denver. The fire illuminated the stockyards district. Firemen A.J. Wedmer, Albert Wells and John Wilson were injured jumping 20 feet from a shed when a wall collapsed. It was Wells' first injury in his 36 years as a member of the Denver Fire Dept. [Longmont Daily Times, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection] 
  • On April 6, 1927, a fire and explosion at the Parco, Wyoming, oil refinery killed at least 17 people. (Parco is now known as Sinclair, Wyoming) 
  • On July 8,1927, an early morning fire damaged the Broadway Theatre in Denver. The blaze started in the properties room and spread to the curtain loft before it was stopped. The adjacent Cosmopolitan Hotel sustained smoke damage. Delegates to the Optmists convention were meeting at the hotel. Guests in various stages of dress watched from behind police lines. Others stood on fire escapes to view the action. [Longmont Daily Times, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection]
  • On Aug. 8,  1927, a three-alarm fire gutted the top floor of the Don Hogan Inc. building at 1227 Broadway, Denver. Flames also damaged Stephan-Miller Inc. at 1225 Broadway ad Permo Washing Co. at 1235 Broadway. [Longmont Daily Times, Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection]
  • On March 19, 1928, Colorado House, one of Denver's oldest hotels, was "partially destroyed" by fire. [Associated Press story in Providence News of Rhode Island] Several people jumped from windows. Bert Hart, a resident of the hotel, was "believed to have been fatally burned" [AP] Residents Roy Bender and William Caphert also suffered life-threatening injuries. Denver Fire Chief John Healy and three other firemen were "cut and bruised" by falling timbers.  
  • On April 20, 1928, 11 people died in a fire at the Alexander Industries plant in the Denver suburb of Englewood. Many others were injured. The fire was preceded by a series of explosions in or near the paint shop. [Associated Press story in Telegraph-Herald and Times-Journal of Dubuque, Iowa, other newspapers]. The plant manufactured aircraft and other machinery. The fire may have been caused by a short circuit in an electric fan. [AP story in Sarasota Herald-Tribune of Florida] Employee Richard Trenari, 21, said: "The flames spread rapidly and soon the whole of the west wing was in flames. It was a terrible inferno."  
  • On July 29, 1928 in Gurnsey, Wyoming: "Eight unidentified men were burned to death in a spectacular freight train wreck on the Burlington Railroad ... tank cars comprised the greater part of the train of 27 cars and flaming gasoline spread from the wreck down the Platte River for several miles, causing the river to appear as though it were on fire." [Associated Press story in Plattsburgh Sentinel of New York]
  • On Sept. 6, 1928, a general alarm fire consumed to Loop Market block in downtown Denver. Twelve firefighters suffered injuries and 10 others received oxygen at the scene. [Associated Press story in Eugene Register-Guard of Oregon]
  • On Oct. 12, 1928, Denver's Truck 12 and Pumper 7 collided at West 44th Street and Federal Boulevard in Denver, killing three firemen. Truck 12 and Pumper 7 were responding to a fire call.
  • On Oct. 3, 1929, 13 guards and inmates died during a riot and fire at the state penitentiary in Canon City, Colorado. Inmates took guards hostage in a botched escape attempt. The Canon City Fire Department received mutual aid from Pueblo and other fire departments. Guards eventually put down the riot.
  • On Dec. 21, 1929, Denver fireman Elmer Hargis of Engine 15 lay ill in St. Anthony's Hospital in need of a blood transfusion. District Chief P.J. Boyne asked for donors. Firemen Ben Miller, James Williams, Joe Bernstein, Thomas Seely, Dan Nash and Ray Warne were chosen as candidates. Seely was deemed best match. "From those who volunteered I chose every type of man," Boyne said. "I chose a large one, a small one, a fat one, a thin one. There is no religion, no race in an emergency likes this." Denver Post]

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