On this historic anniversary of an horrific loss for the Chicago Fire Department, the date will become the reminder for yet another tragedy. 100 years ago today, the Chicago Fire Department suffered the loss of 21 firefighters and three civilians when a building collapsed with them inside at the Chicago Union Stock Yards. At the time of today’s fire, a remembrance service was in progress at the Stock Yards Firefighter Memorial. Today’s collapse occurred after the fire at 1744 E. 75th Street had been extinguished. Initial companies encountered frozen hydrants on arrival and the fire was elevated to a Still and Box Alarm. Firefighters were in the building performing a secondary search for vagrants or the homeless who, on several previous occasions, were reported by neighboring tenants to have been in the building. The roof collapsed in the rear of the building with no apparent warning signs and trapped 19 firefighters. A mayday call was issued and the incident was elevated to a 2-11 Alarm and an EMS Plan I. Most of the firefighters were removed quickly and with non life-threatening injuries while four remained trapped. The alarm was raised further to a 3-11 Alarm with an EMS Plan II bringing a total of 10 ambulances to the scene plus 12 engines, 9 trucks, a squad, the collapse and Special Operations Units, in addition to a myriad of support vehicles and chief officers.
As the four remaining trapped firefighters were located, they were transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, and the University of Chicago Hospital. Corey Ankum, 32, who had been with the department for tow years died at Christ Medical Center and Edward Stringer, a 12-year veteran of the department, died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Tim Olk was on the scene and submitted a few photos. He has a full gallery HERE.