The final installment from Jack Connors of the Chicago FD turret wagon history. Images in this article feature 6-7-3, Big John at various locations in the city; a display, a parade, and at two fire scenes.

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

On display in October of 1974 in the Civic Centre Plaza for fire prevention week. Jack Connors photo

Chicago Fire Department fire trucks

Big John at Engine 42’s house in April of 1974 with Engine 42 and Truck 3. Jack Connors photo

In this photo at Engine 42’s house on Illinois, Big John sits with engine 42 and Truck 3, both built by American LaFrance. This and only one other house in Chicago matched an American LaFrance engine and truck together. The other pair was Engine 112 with Truck 21.

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

Standing by at a fire scene. Jack Connors photo

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

In the fire prevention parade, October of 1970. Jack Connors photo

On July 7, 1970, a 5-11 Alarm fire at 1750 N. Ashland Avenue resulted in the death of CFD Firefighter John Walsh when a wall fell onto a Snorkel. These next two images show Big John (6-7-3) deployed at that fire.

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

The fire was at 1750 N. Ashland Avenue, a 5-11 which caused the LODD of CFD FF John Walsh. Larry Walsh photo

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

Big John deployed in July of 1970 at a 5-11 Alarm fire where CFD FF John Walsh was killed. Larry Walsh photo

From the Chicago Park District website:

Walsh Park occupies the former site of a vacant building destroyed in a spectacular and deadly fire on July 7, 1970. Firefighter John P. Walsh, Jr. (1923-1970), for whom this West Town park is named, died five weeks after being critically injured while fighting the stubborn blaze. Walsh had served as a United States Marine before joining the Chicago Fire Department in 1951. He had been assigned to Hook & Ladder Company 44. Several months after Walsh’s death, the Dana Civic Organization requested that the Chicago Park District develop the fire-scarred site as a neighborhood park. The park district had acquired the 2-acre property by the end of 1972, with the help of grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Improvements began the following year. The 2-acre park includes playground equipment, an athletic field, basketball hoops, and a sand box.

From the Illinois Fire Service Institute:

NAME: John Walsh
AGENCY: Chicago Fire Department
AGE RANGE: 46 to 50 GENDER: Male
DATE OF DEATH: 8/16/1970 DATE OF BIRTH:Unknown
CAUSE OF DEATH: Struck by object   
ATTRIBUTE OF DEATH: [not applicable]
TYPE OF DUTY: Aerial apparatus operations  Firefighting operations   Hose operations  
INCIDENT ATTRIBUTE:Structural collapses     Fires    
INCIDENT SUMMARY:On July 6, 1970, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter John “Jack” Walsh, Jr., was fatally injured when a seven-story wall collapsed during a fire at a vacant building on N. Ashland Avenue. Walsh and Firefighter Edward Werderitch were operating hose lines several stories above the street in a snorkel basket when the wall collapsed on them. Walsh was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital intensive care unit where he was treated for multiple skull and internal injuries. He died five weeks later on August 16, 1970, as a result of the injuries he sustained at the scene.Citations:“Wall Falls; Two Firemen Hurt,” Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1970.

Philip Caputo, “Smoke Hides Fear of a Tough Fireman,” Chicago Tribune, July 9, 1970.

Robert Unger, “Wall Cave-In Injury Kills City Fireman,” Chicago Tribune, August 17, 1970.

“Mass Planned Tomorrow for City Fireman,” Chicago Tribune, August 18, 1970.

Chicago FD Turret Wagon 6-7-3 Big John

On display at the Chicago Fire Academy. photographer and date unknown

The beginning of this series can be found HERE.

Previous articles on Big John are HERE and HERE.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,