Tragedy No Stranger to Toledo’s Fire Fighters

Memor1bThe news that two Toledo Firemen have died in an apartment blaze has struck the city hard.  It’s a body blow. Takes the breath out of us when we hear the news. Stops us in our tracks and makes us think and makes us feel. Sometimes makes us cry.  It also makes us wish there is something we could do to help ease the pain of the families and friends and co-workers of these brave firefighters who have answered the last alarm.  Yes, it’s an inherent danger of the job, but one we often forget about until we are  reminded when the Mayday call echoes too close to ignore.  And so it was Sunday, January 26th, for Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, members of Engine 3’s crew who did what firemen are paid to do, run into the face of danger and not away from it. On this day they paid for that expectation of duty with their lives. Our gratitude should be indelible and so too our remembrance.


As we remember and honor them…it may be a proper time to reflect on the other Toledo fire men who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past 142 years of service to our community.

From Toledo Fire Museum’s website, here is an honor roll of those for whom the bells must toll.

James Welch (Pipeman) – December 15, 1872
Fell from a ladder at a fire at Ottawa and Lafayette.

John Viebrook (Pipeman) – July 31, 1883
Fell from the top of a hose drying tower.

CAPATIN JAMES FRASERCapt. James Fraser – January 3, 1894
Burned to death at King Elevator fire, on current site of Promenade Park. His body was never found.

WillsCapt. Oscar S. Wills May 22, 1898
Killed by falling walls at Down & Snell Wholesale Grocery at Superior and Jefferson Streets.

JohnGallagherCapt. John M. Gallagher – September 19, 1900
Died while fighting fire at a Junkyard warehouse at the
Corner of Vance and 13th.

David D. Young (Pipeman) – October 24, 1901
Died from injuries sustained when he fell through the
pole hole at #13’s Engine House

JohnWardCapt. John B. Ward – December 24, 1901
Killed while responding to a false alarm when his Hook and Ladder collided with Oak Street car at Collingwood and Dorr Streets.


Ralph H. Westfall (Pipeman) – January 30, 1902
Died of injuries received at Henry Rosen Junk Warehouse fire that occured on September 19th.

Thomas J. Smith (Pipeman) – December 9, 1902
Killed by falling walls at Keifer Bros. Furniture Store, on Dorr St.

Richard Donnelly (Pipeman) – December 11, 1902
Killed in blaze at Keifer Bros. Furniture on Dorr Street.

William Croke (Fireman) – April 11, 1908
Died of injuries received in an accident at #8 engine house.

JohnKaintzJohn B. Kaintz (Fireman) – February 24, 1915
Died of complication of a broken leg while slidin down pole to answer an alarm to the Walbash Railroad Roundhouse

JohnTimmersJohn C. Timmers (Fireman) -April 20, 1916
Died when run over by an engine at the corner of Erie and Adams.

AlbertUrieAlbert T. Urie (Fireman) – December 11, 1916
Killed at the Paddock Merchandise Company fire, 114 St. Clair St.

EdwardWelchCapt. Edward J. Welch – December 11, 1916
Killed at the Paddock Merchandise Company fire, 114 St. Clair St.

 PaulQuigleyPaul J. Quigley (Fireman) – February 14, 1931
Killed at #18 station house when he fell during a ladder drill.

CaptFlynnCapt. Andrew J. Flynn – January 31, 1932
Died of injuries received when his ladder truck was involved in crash with a Community Traction Bus.

BernaBernardOrzechowskird A. Orzechowski – January 31, 1932
Died of injuries received when #16’s ladder was involved in an accident with Community Traction Bus.


Edward Radunz (Fireman) – June 21, 1932
Died after fall at Willys Parkway and Berdan.

VannerWendtDistrict Chief Vanner E. Wendt – December 25, 1933
Died when he was hit in the neck by a nozzle fighting a fire on Suder Ave.

Steven Fekete (Fireman) – September 15, 1936
Collapsed and died of of a heart attack in the seat of No 6’s ladder truck after returning from a house fire.

EhmannDistrict Chief George J. Ehmann – October 29, 1937
Killed in a traffic collision at Lincoln and Lawrence Streets while responding to fire at Libbey High School.

Clemons P. Willacker (Fireman) – September 23, 1939
Died of heart attack fighting a warehouse blaze at Lagrange and Water St along the riverfront.

HowardRippelHoward C. Rippel (Fireman) – February 17, 1943
Burned to death at fire in 1000 block of West Woodruff Ave.

FitzgeraldRobertRobert L. Fitzgerald (Fireman) – October 13, 1943
Heart attack while conducting Civil Defense Drill

blade colony fireJames P. Fakehany (Fireman) – January 12, 1944
Killed when he fell through the floor while fighting major fire at Colony Shopping Center.

TimothyMorrisseyTimothy J. Morrissey (Fireman) –  February 15, 1945
Died of heart attack fighting house fire at 1128 Dorr St.

Emil M. Steck, Jr. (Fireman) – November 16, 1947
Died of injuries received in accident on November 13, 1947 involving #1’s pumper.

JoePietkowskiJoseph Pietkowski (Fireman) – June 6, 1950
Died of heart attack while fighting fire at 310 Bronson St.

ChiefScheidlerDepartment Chief Karl B. Scheidler – November 2, 1952
Died of heart attack fighting a large marsh fire on November 1, 1952.

EdStapletonEdward Stapleton Jan 1st, 1953  Died of heart attack while in duty.

DonTimmineyDonald W. Timiney – February 20, 1953
Died from effects of a fire on Mayo Street. The same fire, the day before had claimed the lives of two children.

John M. Jacoby (Fireman) – March 18, 1955
Died of heart attack suffered at fire February 7, 1955

KenWilliamsKenneth Williams (Fireman) – September 20, 1958
Killed at fire at S&S Distributors, 1100 W. Central Ave.

The Anthony Wayne Trail Fire Tragedy in June of 1961

TRail fire1235342_564541283583089_206480289_n

RobertHarrisonRobert G. Harrison (Fireman) – June 15, 1961
Died as a result of burns received at explosion of gasoline truck at Anthony Wayne Trail and Vinton St.
on June 10, 1961.

GlennCarterGlenn E. Carter (Fireman) – June 23, 1961
Died as a result of burns received at explosion of gasoline truck at Anthony Wayne Trail and Vinton St.
on June 10, 1961.

WilliamGensonWilliam G. Genson (Fireman) – July 10, 1961
Died as a result of burns received at explosion of gasoline truck at Anthony Wayne Trail and Vinton St.

EwaldBodeDeputy Chief Ewald Bode – July 28, 1961
Died as a result of burns received at explosion of gasoline truck at Anthony Wayne Trail and Vinton St.


ChesterRybarczykLieutenant Chester A. Rybarczyk -September 2, 1967
Killed in fire at PeeWee’s Bar, on Suder Ave.

LouisFuhrLouis W. Fuhr (Fireman) – March 22, 1969
Killed responding to a false alarm when his pumper truck was struck by a car at Jackman and Laskey Rd.

ClaudeWilloughbyDeputy Chief Claude E. Willoughby – May 7, 1969
Died of heart attack while fighting multiple alarm fire at 916 Lagrange st.

 RobertPietrasCapt. Robert J. Pietras – June 21, 1969
Died as a result of injuries received fighting a fire on Lawton Street on June 10, 1969.

RalphArthurRalph Arthur (Fireman) – January 9, 1971
Died from heart attack resulting from exposure trying to rescue his two children from Maumee Bay after
they broke through the ice in a snowmobile accident.

DonnieCathcartDonnie Cathcart (Fireman) – May 19, 1981
Died as result of fighting a fire at Bell and Fernwood on May 18, 1981

MikeDarringtonMichael J. Darrington – February 27, 2009
Died as the result of a heart attack while on duty at Station #14.

May we remember and respect



Filed under Old Places and Faces, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Tragedy No Stranger to Toledo’s Fire Fighters

  1. JoAnn Flanagan

    Thank you for the wonderful stories. I really enjoy them. I have shared this with our readers on the Oregon Jerusalem Historical Society facebook page as well. JoAnn

  2. Tom Glassmoyer

    Excellent story and one that needs to be told again and again. The firemen run toward danger while the rest of us run from it. Recently the railroad bridge that crosses Collingwood Blvd. was dismantled but the piers remain. The black on those stone piers are not from age but from the 1961 fire. I would hope that they are left as a reminder of one of our cities great tragedies. The metal cross girders that were taken away also were burned black. The memorial on Huron and Orange Streets is fine, but those blackened piers are a stark reminder of what happened there on a beautiful Saturday morning in June.

    • Thanks for that bit of info, Tom, about the old RR bridge. I believe that when the fire happened in 1961, that the AW Trail actually ran under that bridge and part of what is now Collingwood. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I will take a special look at those charred piers the next time I drive by.

      • Tom Glassmoyer

        Yes, it ended and made a sharp right hand turn to go under the bridge and on to Erie St and downtown. The double gasolene tanker lost control after the turn and the rear trailer tipped and burst into flames. The next week the Ohio legislature outlawed the use of tandem tankers. Firehouse number five was at that time located at Logan and Broadway and was the first to answer the call. It was their hero’s who were killed when the second tanker which was hidden from them by the intense smoke from the fire. When they set up they were unaware of the lead tanker. In addition to the 4 dead, I believe that 9 other firemen were injured so severely that they didn’t return to service. In total, 82 people received injuries so severely that they sought medical attention. This information is from the Blade archives on Google.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s