IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Robert Waddle
Agency Springfield Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 26 to 30
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 5/7/1917
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Electrocution
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Ladder operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Springfield
Incident State IL
Incident Date 5/7/1917 15:0
Incident Location Residential
Incident Attribute Electrical hazards , Fires

Incident Summary

On May 7, 1917, Firefighter Robert E. Waddle of the Springfield Fire Department died in the line of duty while fighting a residential fire at the intersection of Seventh Street and South Grand Avenue.

As firefighters were wrapping up firefighting operations, Waddle climbed a ladder to enter a third-story window. Waddle lost his footing as he stepped through the window, and his right arm came into contact with an exposed electrical wire as he fell into the room. Waddle was electrocuted and, because the floor was wet from firefighting, three other firefighters in the room were knocked down by the strong electrical surge.

Waddle was transported to the hospital by ambulance, but he was pronounced dead before reaching the hospital. The other three firefighters were not seriously injured.

A member of the Springfield Fire Department for three years, Waddle was survived by his parents and one brother.


“Fireman Killed While on Duty,” Illinois State Register, May 8, 1917.

“Hold Inquest Over Deceased Fireman,” Illinois State Register, May 9, 1917.

Firefighter and Incident Images

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Firefighter and Incident Audio

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