Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John Haviar
Agency Reynolds Metal Company Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Industrial
Age Range 51 to 55
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 11/9/1995
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Asphyxiation
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Search and rescue operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City McCook
Incident State IL
Incident Date 11/9/1995 7:45
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Gas leaks , Hazardous materials incidents

Incident Summary

On November 9, 1995, Firefighter John Haviar of the Reynolds Metal Company Fire Department died in the line of duty after he was overcome by Argon gas during a rescue attempt.

Around 7:45AM, contract construction workers were laying the foundation for a new casting furnace at the Reynolds Metal Company plant in McCook, Illinois, when one of the contractors fell into an excavation pit. A second contractor climbed into the pit to help his colleague, but both were overcome by fumes inside the pit. In an attempt to rescue the trapped contractors, Haviar descended into the pit, but he, too, collapsed after he was overcome by Argon gas. All three men died from their injuries.

In addition to serving on the Reynolds Metal Company Fire Department for twenty-three years, Haviar had also been a volunteer member of the Midlothian Fire Department since 1968.


Lynn Van Matre, “Toxic fumes that killed 3 at plant under investigation,” Chicago Tribune, November 10, 1995.

Darlene Gavron Stevens and Lynn Van Matre, “Rescuer’s death puzzles friends,” Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1995.

Firefighter and Incident Images

No images exist for this Firefighter/Incident

Firefighter and Incident Audio

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