IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John Dowling
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 31 to 35
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 5/8/1949
Cause of Death Fall
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Ladder operations , Training duties

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 5/8/1949
Incident Location Training ground
Incident Attribute Training accidents

Incident Summary

On May 8, 1949, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter John Dowling of Hook and Ladder 3 died in the line of duty after he was injured during a training exercise. The truck company was training outside of the firehouse on West Erie Street when Dowling fell off a ladder.

This accidental death prompted some citizens to criticize such training exercises, but the fire department defended the importance and necessity of fire service training for maintaining an effective and efficient fire department.


“Injuries Fatal,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 9, 1949.

“Worse Than Fighting Fires,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 18, 1949.

“Haberkorn Defends Drills as Necessary to Firemen’s Work,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 19, 1949.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

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