IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John Matczynski
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 46 to 50
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 5/31/1961
Cause of Death Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death Heart attack
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 5/31/1961
Incident Location Storage
Incident Attribute Fires

Incident Summary

On May 31, 1961, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter John J. Matczynski of Engine 41, assigned to the fireboat Fred A. Busse, suffered a fatal heart attack in the line of duty while fighting a warehouse fire at the Thomas Paper Stock Company on Goose Island.

The 4-11 alarm fire was started by children playing in an empty freight car near the warehouse. Heavy winds spread the flames into the warehouse, which was heavily stocked with flammable paper products. Around one-fifth of the city’s firefighting apparatus responded to the alarm and firefighters were successful in containing the fire to just the one warehouse. The fireboat Fred A. Busse responded to help prevent the flames from spreading away from the island and jumping over the Chicago River.

Funeral services for Matczynski were held at Immaculate Conception Church on June 3, and he was survived by his widow and three children.


“Fireman Dies Fighting Blaze,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 1, 1961.

“Obituary of John J. Matczynski,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 2, 1961.

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