|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||51 to 55|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||3/7/1952|
|Cause of Death||Stress/Overexertion|
|Nature of Death||Heart attack|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Emergency vehicle operations , Responding to/returning from incident|
On March 7, 1952, Howard Fisher, driver of water tower No. 3, suffered a heart attack while responding to an explosion at Helene Curtis Industries, a cosmetics manufacturer located at 4401 W. North Avenue. Fisher was driving the tower west when, at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Green Street, he collapsed onto the steering wheel, causing the tower to collide with another fire truck. A member of the fire department since 1925, Fisher also suffered a skull fracture when his head hit the steering wheel during the vehicle collision.
The fire at the factory had started in a revolving drum used for mixing cosmetic powders. As the fire spread, workers raced out of the building as explosions sent cans of hair styling products flying to heights of 600 feet in the air. The explosions were especially severe due to the pressurized Freon gas contained inside the cans. Most of the employees were able to escape without injury, although a few were hit with the exploding cans. No firefighters were injured or killed at the fire scene.
“Fire, Explosion Rip West Side Cosmetic Plant,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 8, 1952.