Illinois Fire Service Institute

 

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Michael Bensman
Agency Alton Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 46 to 50
Sex Male
Date of Birth 1/28/1897
Date of Death 1/11/1946
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Asphyxiation
Attribute of Death Smoke inhalation
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Alton
Incident State IL
Incident Date 1/11/1946 9:12
Incident Location Residential
Incident Attribute Fires

Incident Summary

On January 11, 1946, the Alton Fire Department received an alarm at 9:12 AM for a fire in a two-story house containing four apartments. Firefighters from Engine Companies No. 1 and No. 2 responded to the blaze, arriving to find one downstairs apartment engulfed in fire and smoke. Despite the thick smoke, firefighters attacked the blaze from the porch of the building and, after two hours, successfully extinguished the blaze. While the other apartments in the building sustained some water and smoke damage, the flames had been successfully contained in the one apartment.

During the firefighting operations, Firefighter Michael Bensman, a ten year veteran with Engine Company No. 1, was overcome by smoke. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. A few days later Bensman was buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, with his fellow firefighters acting as pallbearers and honor guards. During the funeral, firefighters from Wood River, Western Cartridge Company, and the Milton Fire Department covered Alton’s firehouses so that all of Bensman’s colleagues could attend the services.


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