IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Edwin Paulsen
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 31 to 35
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 7/20/1951
Cause of Death Fall
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Ventilation operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 7/20/1951 12:0
Incident Location Store/Office
Incident Attribute Explosions , Fires

Incident Summary

On July 20, 1951, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter Edwin F. Paulsen of Truck 18 was killed in a dust explosion while operating at a 4-11 alarm fire in a commercial building on S. Ashland Avenue. The fire started in a shoe store and rapidly spread to other stores in the same building. Firefighters were chopping ventilation holes in the roof of the building when the large dust explosion, “worse than dynamite,” erupted, hurling Paulsen and two other firefighters off the roof and into the street. Paulsen was killed instantly and the other two firefighter suffered serious injuries. Twelve other firefighters and more than twenty civilians also suffered minor injuries. Funeral services for Paulsen were held at St. Dorothy’s Church and he was interred at Mount Olivet cemetery.


“S. Side Blast and Fire Kill One; 35 Hurt,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 21, 1951.

“Victim of Fire Leaves Widow, Five Children,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 21, 1951.

“Mortgage Fund for Fire Hero’s Family Grows,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 22, 1951.

“$1,629 is Raised for Family of Dead Fireman,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 24, 1951.

“Firemen Honor Associate Lost Fighting Blaze,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 25, 1951.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record