|Agency||Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol|
|Type of Firefighter||Fire Patrol|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||3/15/1922|
|Cause of Death||Struck by object|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Firefighting operations|
On March 15, 1922, James J. McGovern of the Chicago Fire Insurance Patrol died in the line of duty during a massive fire that destroyed the entire city block bordered by Jackson, Van Buren, Canal, and Clinton Streets. The fire started in the Austin Building on Canal Street and quickly spread to a number of adjacent buildings, including the Canal Street Station of the “L” train. Flames also crossed Clinton Street to the fourteen-story Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Building, which burned from the roof downward. Eighty percent of the city’s firefighters responded to the fire, and more than 1,000 fire nozzles were used while battling the flames.
McGovern was killed as he crossed Van Buren Street while carrying wet blankets in support of firefighting operations. He was struck on the head by a piece of stone masonry and transported to Iroquois Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from a skull fracture.
“$10,000,000 Flames!” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 15, 1922.
“Fire Loss Fixed at $8,000,000; Seek Firebug,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 16, 1922.
“The Men Who Saved Chicago,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 16, 1922.