|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||3/12/1927|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Asphyxiation , Burns|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Hazardous materials response|
On March 11, 1927, two Chicago Fire Department firefighters were fatally injured in the line of duty while fighting a basement fire at the Daigger Company chemical plant on West Kinzie Street. Firefighter Edward Hirsekorn of Truck 6 died on scene, and Firefighter Thomas Bender of Truck 3 died the next day, March 12, at Henrotin Hospital.
The initial alarm that brought firefighters to the chemical plant was for a relatively small basement fire. The fire was quickly extinguished, and fire companies were preparing to leave, when a large explosion occurred in the basement. More than thirty cans of ether had ignited and exploded, creating a wall of flames that trapped some firefighters in the basement. Fire companies on scene were able to quickly rescue their injured colleagues, but Hirsekorn and Bender were too badly hurt to recover. Ten other firefighters suffered from burn and smoke inhalation injuries.
“2 Firemen Die in Blast; 10 Hurt; Inquiry Started,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 12, 1927.