|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||41 to 45|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||8/7/1932|
|Cause of Death||Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations|
On August 7, 1932, two Chicago Fire Department firefighters were killed in the line of duty when a four-story wall collapsed on them while they were fighting a fire at the Herrmann Warehouse on Goose Island in Chicago. Lieutenant Victor Strubbe and Pipeman James Murphy, both firefighters with Engine Company No. 30, were killed operating in the warehouse which was weakened by a previous fire from May 23, 1932. Strubbe and Murphy, along with two other firefighters, were operating hose lines on the third floor fire escapes of the warehouse when the fourth floor collapsed and forced the warehouse wall outward. Strubbe and Murphy fell with the wall and died on the scene when they were buried under tons of debris. Jacob Pozdal and Frank Narucki, two firefighters stationed above Strubbe and Murphy at the fourth floor level, also fell with the wall, but they were thrown clear of the debris and survived the fall.
Following the fire, the Chicago Fire Department reported that they had responded to 42 calls to the warehouse between the May 23 fire and the August 7 fire. Baled cotton that had initially caught fire on May 23 continued to smolder throughout the summer, but Joseph Herrmann, the warehouse owner, had ignored multiple orders from the city to demolish the dangerous portions of the warehouse. Herrmann was found guilty of criminal negligence by a coroner’s jury investigating the blaze and faced a grand jury on charges of manslaughter.
“Wall Topples; 2 Firemen Die,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 8, 1932.
“Subpoena Owner of Warehouse in Blaze Fatal to 2,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 9, 1932.
“Café Blast Toll Mounts to 4 as Inquiry Starts,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 10, 1932.
“Hold Warehouse Owner in Deaths of Two Firemen,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 20, 1932.