Fireman Dies in Toronto Supermarket Fire
Robert Ludlow, a 21-year-old rookie fireman, married less than a month, died on November 7 when he was trapped in the basement of a burning Toronto supermarket.
Ludlow and another fireman had entered the basement, where the fire is believed to have been smoldering overnight. They became separated and Ludlow’s companion was unable to locate the rookie, and barely escaped himself. He was overcome by smoke and taken to a hospital, where he was kept in an oxygen tent for three days.
Fire Chief Ernest Woods of the York Township Fire Department, which Ludlow had joined about a year ago, had a crew of men searching the sprawling supermarket for their companion. They were forced to abandon the search, however, when three of the walls bowed and the roof steel sagged badly, and were unable to go back into the basement until the fire was under control and the walls shored.
Ironically, a sprinkler system had been installed in the store, and was to have been connected and in operation on the day of the fire.