IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Edward Nowakowski
Agency Forest River Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Volunteer
Age Range 46 to 50
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 2/21/1971
Cause of Death Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death Heart attack
Attribute of Death Smoke inhalation
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Wheeling
Incident State IL
Incident Date 2/21/1971 4:20
Incident Location Public assembly
Incident Attribute Fires

Incident Summary

On February 21, 1971, Firefighter Edward J. Nowakowski of the Forest River Fire Department suffered a fatal heart attack in the line of duty while fighting a restaurant/dance hall fire in Wheeling, Illinois.

Nowakowski, who worked full-time as a proficiency expert at International Harvester Corp., responded to the fire with the Forest River Fire Department, one of several mutual aid departments called to the incident. During the fire, Nowakowski was overcome by smoke, but he returned to active firefighting duties after a short break. Following the fire, he collapsed while rolling up fire hose, and died from a heart attack shortly thereafter.

Funeral services for Nowakowski were held at St. Emily Church on February 23, and he was interred at All Saints Cemetery. He was survived by his widow and seven children.


“Firefighter Dies at Café Blaze,” Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1971.

Obituary of Edward J. Nowakowski, Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1971.

“Volunteer Fire Departments Suffer Growing Pains,” Chicago Tribune, February 25, 1971.

Firefighter and Incident Images

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Firefighter and Incident Audio

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