|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||12/15/1898|
|Cause of Death||Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Ladder operations|
On December 15, 1898, four members of the Chicago Fire Department were fatally injured in the line of duty while fighting a fire at the Palace Livery Stable on Cottage Grove Avenue.
Lieutenant Matthias Meyer and Truckman Patrick Ahern, both of Truck 11, were killed instantly when a wall collapsed during firefighting operations. Also injured in the collapse were Truckman Thomas Dillon of Truck 4, who died from his injuries on December 16, and Driver Edward Cremieux of Truck 11, who died from his injuries on December 19.
The fire started shortly after 6:30PM, and Truck 11 was among the first fire companies to arrive at the scene. Meyer, Ahern, and other firefighters were climbing a ladder on the 32nd Street side of the livery stable when the outer wall collapsed, burying eleven firefighters in the debris. The collapse occurred because the upper floors of the livery were not supported on the ground floor by weight-bearing posts and were instead hung from a truss roof.
Funeral services for Meyer were held at St. George’s Church on December 18, and he was interred at St. Boniface Cemetery. A member of the department since 1885, Meyer had previously served with Engines 13, 15, 28, and 39, and was promoted to lieutenant in recognition of his work during the World’s Columbian Exposition fire. He was survived by his widow and eight children.
Funeral services for Ahern were held at St. Bridget’s Church on December 18, and he was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery. An eight year veteran of the fire department, Ahern had previously served with Engine 4 and Truck 18. He was survived by his sister.
Dillon suffered a fractured skull and collarbone, broken back, and broken right leg. He died at Mercy Hospital on December 16, and was buried on December 18.
Cremieux suffered a broken back, as well as injuries to his head, arms, and legs. He was treated at Michael Reese Hospital, where he died from his injuries on December 19.
“Firemen Crushed to Death,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 16, 1898.
“One More Fireman Succumbs,” Chicago Daily Tribune, December 17, 1898.