FALLING WALLS CRUSH FIREMEN IN FIVE-ALARM BOSTON FIRE
Six Killed and Forty-three Others Injured; Trapped Men Saved by Heroic Work of Comrades
CRUSHED beneath falling walls of brick and granite as they fought a fivealarm fire inside the blazing century-old Lyceum Hall at Maverick Square and Henry Street, East Boston, on November 15, six Boston firemen were killed and forty-three others were injured.
The fire itself was an ordinary twoalarm blaze. As they were bringing it under control, the Henry Street side of the age-weakened structure cracked and fell in, carrying many firemen with it in the deluge of blazing timbers, brick and mortar.
The firemen who were killed were on the second floor, working with hose lines. They were smothered under the avalanche.
Outside ten firemen playing water on the blaze from a fire escape were hurled into the street amid a rain of bricks and timbers. Three were left fifty feet in the air on an aerial ladder. Twenty others were on stairways and on the second floor. Still others were blown free from death from window sills. Some were hurled to the sidewalk through two entrances by the force of the falling interior.
The Boston Fire Department’s new aerial ladder truck was standing beside the wall. It was buried in the wreckage and severely damaged. However, it served as the means of escape of twentyfive firemen who were on the second floor of the building.
That more were not killed is due mostly to the gallant action of the firemen, who crawled into holes under the debris to pull injured fellow-firemen to safety.
As the rescue work was proceeding, the flames gained headway. The adjoining building on Henry Street caught fire and some fifty persons were forced to flee.
The fire started in the rear of a restaurant which is on the first floor of the building. An electric appliance caught fire and ignited grease nearby.
A worker in the restaurant ran into the street and called two citizens, who attempted to extinguish the fire. Someone telephoned fire headquarters at 2:26 a. m. At 2:27 a. m. the alarm was sounded. Members of the Hast Boston fire station, only a few blocks away, arrived and quickly laid hose lines.
The second a’arni was sounded at 3:04 a. m., when the fire seemed to be gaining headway. At 3:24 a. m., the third alarm was sounded and at 4:20 a. m., five minutes after the wall collapsed, the fourth alarm sounded. The fifth alarm was sounded to bring help to aid in the rescue of the trapped firemen.
Included in the rescue squads which arrived to lend assistance were 250 auxiliary policemen, 150 auxiliary firemen, thirty-six members of the Metropolitan Chapter of the American Red Cross, a civilian defense demolition squad, and a number of Coast Guardsmen.
Fire underwriters discovered charred timbers from previous fires within the ruins, and it developed that the building has been twice swept by serious fires, and structurally weakened by alterations