|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||2/5/1900|
|Cause of Death||Fall|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations , Hose operations , Ladder operations|
On February 2, 1900, Chicago Fire Department Pipeman William Fleming of Engine 40 was fatally injured in the line of duty while fighting a commercial fire at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
The fire started at 12:30PM on the third floor of the five-story brick building housing the Sprague, Warner & Co., one of the largest grocery dealers in the world. The cause of the fire was attributed to the spontaneous combustion of dust in the spice milling department. Although the flames spread quickly, fire walls successfully contained the flames within the southwest corner of the building.
Twenty-six fire engines and two fireboats responded to the fire, and Engine 40 was one of the first fire companies on scene. Shortly after arriving at the fire, Fleming was pulling a hose line up a ladder when the ladder slipped on the icy sidewalk. Fleming fell to the ground and suffered a fractured hip and other internal injuries. He was transported to Mercy Hospital, where he died from his injuries on February 5.
One other firefighter was also injured in the line of duty, and an employee who worked in the building died of smoke inhalation.
“Flames Wreck a Spice Plant,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 3, 1900.
“Fireman Fleming Dies of Injuries,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 6, 1900.
“Albert Kruger’s Body Found,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 6, 1900.