|Agency||Rochelle Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Volunteer|
|Age Range||36 to 40|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||12/27/1950|
|Cause of Death||Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations|
On December 27, 1950, Firefighter Kenneth Wendt of the Rochelle Fire Department died in the line of duty while fighting a fire in downtown Rochelle. The fire started in the basement of a commercial building, and Wendt was operating inside the basement when the building collapsed.
Firefighters from ten area fire departments responded to the fire, which burned for more than twelve hours in sub-freezing temperatures. Two commercial buildings that also contained five second-story apartments were destroyed in the fire, leaving fourteen residents homeless.
A deputy sheriff for Ogle County and a full-time driver for Railway Express Agency, Inc., Wendt had been a member of the Rochelle Fire Department for fifteen years. He was survived by his widow and two children.
“Fireman Killed; Two Rochelle Buildings Burn,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 28, 1950.