|Agency||Murphysboro Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||46 to 50|
|Date of Birth||11/5/1936|
|Date of Death||10/9/1983|
|Cause of Death||Struck by vehicle|
|Nature of Death||Trauma , Heart attack|
|Attribute of Death||Duty disability|
|Type of Duty||Post-incident|
On January 15, 1983, Captain John Marnati of the Murphysboro Fire Department was severely injured following an arson fire that destroyed most of a city block in downtown Murphysboro.
The fire was deliberately set in an apartment above a tavern, and the flames quickly spread to the adjacent buildings. Murphysboro firefighters responded to the fire at around 2:30AM, and over the next several hours more than 100 additional firefighters from twelve other fire departments responded with mutual aid assistance. Six buildings, containing both businesses and apartments, were destroyed in the fire, and one apartment resident died.
The fire was mostly extinguished by 7AM, but the ruins continued to smolder throughout the day. Shortly before 12:30PM, Marnati was working at the fire scene when he was struck by a dump truck that was removing bricks and other debris from the scene. Marnati was treated at Carbondale Memorial Hospital, but he was unable to return to duty following the accident, and he died from a heart attack on October 9 as a result of his injuries.
A member of the Murphysboro Fire Department since 1959, Marnati also owned a part-time business in which he sold, repaired, and refilled fire extinguishers. Marnati, who was nicknamed “Mouse” since childhood, is remembered as an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing, and the winners of the annual Firefighter’s Waterfight Competition at the Murphysboro Apple Festival receive a trophy named in his memory.