IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name William Fleming
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Pipeman
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range [Unknown]
Sex Male
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

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 2/2/1900 12:30
Incident Location Store/Office
Incident Attribute Structural collapses , Fires

Incident Summary

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.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

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