|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||9/27/1894|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Asphyxiation|
|Attribute of Death||Smoke inhalation|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations|
On September 27, 1894, Chicago Fire Department Pipeman James Russell of Engine 10 died in the line of duty while fighting a restaurant fire on S. State Street. Russell asphyxiated after he was overcome by smoke in the restaurant basement.
Engine 10 was the first fire company to arrive on scene, and firefighters immediately entered the building with a hose line. They advanced ten feet into the basement before the dense smoke forced them to retreat. As they were exiting, Russell was overcome by smoke and collapsed, but he was quickly rescued by his colleagues. A few minutes later, firefighters again attempted to attack the fire with a hose line, but five more firefighters were overcome by smoke and had to be carried out of the basement. A 4-11 alarm was eventually raised, and the fire department successfully contained and extinguished the fire.
Russell was taken to a nearby drug store, where a doctor attempted to resuscitate him for more than two hours, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was survived by his widow and eight children.
“Fireman dies in a small blaze,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 28, 1894.