From the Fire Engineering Vault: Pearl Harbor and World War II

Pearl Harbor fire station

As we recall the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II, let’s look at the January 1942 issue of Fire Engineering.  Featured here are the cover, the editorial, the article, “Sabotage by War Gases Said to be a Possibility,” and an advertisement.

All firefighters should remember that on that day, the Honolulu (HI) Fire Department responded and three firefighters were killed: Captain John Carreira, Captain Thomas S. Macy, and Hoseman Harry T.L. Pang. Six other members were injured; all received Purple Hearts–the only civilians to receive this military honor. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our brethren in the military as we have since 1775.

Although the war would be a constant theme in subsequent issues of Fire Engineering, the fire service’s role during wartime was not a new topic. “Progress Report on Preparing for Wartime Emergencies” (October 1938) reported on a meeting of an International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) committee, which observed, among other things, that fires from aerial bombardment would be a major war hazard. The committee included I. Herbert Case, vice president and general manager of the Case-Shepperd-Mann Publishing Co., the publisher of Fire Engineering.

After war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Editor Fred Shepperd wrote the November 1939 editorial, “Time for Preparedness”–a recurring theme throughout the magazine’s history.

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