Illinois Fire Service Institute

 

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Charles Trocke
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 6/8/1952
Cause of Death Struck by object
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 6/7/1952
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Structural collapses , Arson , Fires

Incident Summary

On June 7, 1952, ten firefighters were injured during a fire at the Terre Paper Box Company, a manufacturer of telescoping paper boxes, located on N. Winchester in Chicago. The next day, Firefighter Charles Trocke of Engine Co. #14 of the Chicago Fire Department died at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital from injuries he had sustained during the fire. Trocke and other firefighters had been operating hoselines on the roof of a smaller building adjoining the factory when part of a wall from the burning building collapsed on them. Several firefighters avoided injury by leaping off the roof, but many others sustained broken bones and other injuries when struck by debris. Trocke was crushed by debris from the wall and suffered a broken back. Investigations into the $200,000 fire determined that it was probably started by burglars who had been spotted climbing out a window shortly before the fire alarm. Further investigations revealed that a number of tools were missing from the plant following the fire.

Nearly eighteen years later, Firefighter Robert McShane of Engine 14 died on February 25, 1970, as a result of injuries he suffered during the fire. McShane's spinal cord had been crushed in the wall collapse, and he had been on duty disability with the department since the time of his injury. As the Chicago Fire Department’s first paraplegic veteran, McShane’s colleagues had helped to remodel his home and make it more accessible for him. Local businesses and charities had donated supplies and money in support of the renovations, including widened doors, a first floor bathroom, and a hydraulic lift.

Citations:

“10 Hurt Fighting Box Plant Fire, Worst of Year,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 8, 1952.

“1 of 10 Firemen Hurt in Wall Collapse Dies,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 9, 1952.

“Thinks Thieves Started Blaze in Box Factory,” Chicago Daily Tribune, June 11, 1952.

“Firemen give Injured Buddy will to Smile,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 17, 1952.

”$500 Hikes Fund for Paraplegic City Fireman,” Chicago Daily Tribune, November 21, 1952.

Ruth Moss, “City Firemen Answer Alarm for a Comrade: Hospital Siege Ends on Happy Note,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 10, 1952.

”Youths to give Paralyzed Fire Fighter a Lift,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 19, 1952.

“Mass slated Monday for ex-fireman, 57,” Chicago Tribune, February 27, 1970.


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