Today a crowd gathered at the stockyards in Chicago, Illinois, amid the snow falling to remember 100th anniversary of the tragic stockyard fire that claimed the lives of 21 firemen, including Fire Marshal James J. Horan, and three civilians killed during a collapse at that fire. As the names from the historic fire were being read, news spread through the crowd that another collapse, this one at a fire on the city’s South Side had taken place. It's now been reported that two firefighters died and 19 other firefighters injured on this historically tragic day.
Firefighter Edward Stringer and Firefighter Corey Ankum lost their lives when the roof collapsed during the firefight at 1744 E. 75th Street. Early reports indicate that firefighter Stringer and Ankum may have been working on the roof at the time of the collapse.
According to unconfirmed reports, a collapse at the rear of the structure trapped four firefighters, all of whom were removed from the rubble. The building was vacant; the firefighters entered the structure to check for possible vagrants occupying the building. There was considerable evidence and reports that homeless people were using the facility for shelter.
Four firefighters are in critical condition and 10 are in stable condition. None of the other injuries are considered to be life-threatening at this time.
The building has been reported as a heavy timber building measuring 40 × 150 feet. The building had a flat roof in front and a bow string truss in the rear. Heavy smoke was reported issuing from the front of the building with considerable fire reported in the rear, described as an 'office area.’
The fire was knocked down and firefighters began to conduct a secondary search. To the best of our knowledge, suddenly and without any warning the rear portion of the roof collapsed, trapping four firefighters. The alarm was raised to a 3-11, EMS. Plan 2 and Mayday Plan 2. The Mayday teams recovered the four firefighters. However, the resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful for firefighter Edward Stringer and firefighter Corey Ankum.
The entire staff at Fire Engineering shares the grief of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and is working to bring you up to the minute details of this tragic incident. On behalf of Fire Engineering and the entire staff at Pennell Corporation, we would like to express our deep condolences to the family and friends of firefighter Stringer and Ankum and to all the members of the CFD for their tragic loss.
- Bobby Halton
Editor In Chief, Fire Engineering