IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Gary Descher
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 36 to 40
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 12/10/1968
Cause of Death Fall
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 12/7/1968 2:0
Incident Location Public assembly
Incident Attribute Structural collapses , Fires , Truss roof collapses

Incident Summary

On December 7, 1968, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter Gary Descher was fatally injured in the line of duty while fighting a fire at a bowling alley on N. Spaulding Avenue. Descher, a seven-year veteran of Hook and Ladder 38, was operating on the roof of the burning building when the truss roof collapsed. Descher fell into the burning building and was presumed dead, but was recovered from the burning ruins four hours later. He was treated for burns and internal injuries at Belmont Hospital, where he died three days after the fire. Two other firefighters were injured in the collapse, which prompted a departmental investigation into the firefighting procedures used during the incident.


Joseph Morang, “3 Firemen saved on N. Side,” Chicago Tribune, December 8, 1968.

“Gary Descher Dies; Injured Fighting Fire,” Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1968.

“Services Set for Fireman Gary Descher,” Chicago Tribune, December 12, 1968.

William Granger, “Union Leader Want a Probe of Fire Death,” Chicago Tribune, December 15, 1968.

William Granger, “Link Faulty Snorkel Unit to Fire Death,” Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1968.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record