IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John Norris
Agency Streator Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Volunteer
Age Range 46 to 50
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 8/28/1929
Cause of Death Struck by object
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Hose operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Streator
Incident State IL
Incident Date 8/28/1929 18:0
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Structural collapses , Fires

Incident Summary

Shortly before 6 p.m. on August 28, 1929, Thomas Kennedy, owner of the Kennedy Body Manufacturing Co., discovered a fire in his plant on Monroe Street in Streator, Illinois. The fire had started in a pile of wood shavings in the plant’s mill room and, by the time it was discovered, had already engulfed equipment and materials in the room. Kennedy briefly attempted to extinguish the blaze himself, before notifying the Streator Fire Department.

Firefighters from the Streator Fire Department responded to the blaze, but the fire had already engulfed much of the plant, as the building’s wooden support girders and other interior materials facilitated the spread of the flames. Racing to contain the blaze, firefighters surrounded the building with hoselines to protect neighboring homes and businesses from the intense flames. The fire was so severe that a number of former volunteer firefighters (the Streator Fire Department switched from volunteer to career in 1910) arrived on-scene to assist with the firefighting efforts.

Charles Marx, a career firefighter for nineteen years, and John Norris, a former volunteer firefighter, were operating a hoseline at the northwest corner of the plant when the two story northern wall of the plant collapsed outward. Trapped between the plant and the home of Anna Malloy, Marx and Norris were crushed under several tons of bricks. Firefighters raced to dig out Marx and Norris, but one firefighter, Fred Thomas, later reported that the bricks were so hot that rescuers had to wait several minutes before they could start digging through the debris. Unfortunately, Marx had been killed instantly by the collapse and while Norris was still alive when he was pulled from the wreckage, he died within ten minutes of his rescue. The fire was eventually extinguished several hours later, having caused more than $50,000 in damage.

Firefighter and Incident Images