IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Robert Bobka
Agency Itasca Fire Protection District
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 26 to 30
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 8/2/1979
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Burns
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Training duties

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Itasca
Incident State IL
Incident Date 7/22/1979
Incident Location Residential , Vacant property
Incident Attribute Explosions , Fires

Incident Summary

On July 22, 1979, Firefighter Robert Bobka of the Itasca Fire Protection District was fatally injured in the line of duty during a training exercise.

As training officer, Bobka was leading a live fire training exercise for twenty-five firefighters at a vacant house. As firefighters were extinguishing the fire set inside the house, an exterior home heating oil storage tank adjacent to the house started shooting sparks. As Bobka and another firefighter moved toward the tank to douse it with water, the tank exploded.

Bobka and the other firefighter, both severely burned in the explosion, were transported to Alexian Brothers Hospital and then transferred to the burn unit at Cook County Hospital, where Bobka succumbed to his injuries on August 2.

Funeral services for Bobka were held at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Addison on August 6.


“Oil tank explodes during drill, two suburb firemen are injured,” Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1979.

“Blood needed for 2 Itasca firemen,” Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1979.

Obituary of Robert Bobka, Chicago Tribune, August 4, 1979.

“Scars recall her fight to save brother,” Chicago Tribune, September 17, 1979.

Firefighter and Incident Images

No images exist for this Firefighter/Incident

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record