|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||46 to 50|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||9/24/1901|
|Cause of Death||Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations|
On September 24, 1901, Chicago Fire Department Engineer Charles L. Corey of Engine 29 died in the line of duty while fighting an industrial fire on South Canal Street.
The fire in the five-story factory for the Freund Brothers Manufacturing Company was reported shortly after 7AM, when neighbors heard a loud explosion and saw flames through the factory’s third and fourth floor windows. The flames fed on the paints, oils, and wallpaper produced by the factory, and the upper floors of the building were fully involved by the time firefighters arrived.
Over the next few hours, the building gradually collapsed. The roof and interior floors collapsed at around 7:30AM, followed by the south wall at 8AM. The north wall collapsed a few minutes later, setting off a series of explosions when additional oils and varnishes ignited. One explosion eventually brought down the building’s west wall, which buried four firefighters, including Corey. Corey was rescued from the debris, but died from his injuries while being transported to Mercy Hospital.
During the morning of the fire, members of the Freund family were assaulted by neighborhood residents who were angry about the death of Corey, as a number of fires had occurred in the factory over the years.
“Fatality at Fire Causes Violence,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 25, 1901.
“Burned Freund Factory and Fireman Corey, Who Was Killed,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 25, 1901.