|Agency||Hinsdale Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||3/24/1946|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure , Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Burns , Cerebrovascular accident/Stroke , Pneumonia|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Search and rescue operations|
On February 17, 1946, Firefighter Walter Fleming of the Hinsdale Fire Department was fatally injured in the line of duty when he was caught in a structural collapse while fighting a house fire. Fleming and another career firefighter were the first two firefighters to respond to the fire call, and Fleming’s son, Elsworth, a volunteer firefighter, joined them at the scene shortly thereafter. Walter and Elsworth entered the burning house to search for trapped occupants, but the roof collapsed and brought the kitchen ceiling down on top of the two firefighters. Both men suffered serious burns, and while Walter exited the building on his own, Elsworth had to be pulled out by another firefighter.
Walter and Elsworth Fleming were transported to Hinsdale Hospital, where they both remained for more than a month. Elsworth had suffered third degree burns to his legs and right hand, and Walter was treated for second and third degree burns to his legs, back, and face.
Walter Fleming died on March 24 after suffering a stroke that was complicated by pneumonia and his burn injuries. Funeral services were held on March 27, and the services were attended by ten neighboring fire departments.