13 LODD's from one small FD
ON THIS DAY, MARCH 10, IN 1941 the Brockton, Massachusetts, Fire Department lost 13 of its firefighters in a tragic roof collapse while fighting a fire inside the Strand movie theater. The fire had started in the basement and was knocked down fairly handily, but it had gotten into the vertical voids in the walls and extended upward into the ceiling area. The firefighters were working inside the auditorium against what looked to be a small fire in the ceiling but was burning the roof trusses and heating the exposed steel beams.
Several firefighters were in the balcony trying to pull the ceiling so that hose crews in the main level could direct streams onto the burning rafters. Suddenly a portion of the roof collapsed dropping onto the balcony and the FF's there. Thirteen of them were killed and 20 more were injured.
Rear view of the Strand
photo by Stanley Bauman
One of the best accounts of the tragedy is the article written by Capt. Mark Picher of the Brockton Fire Department and posted on Brockton Local 144's website HERE. It is recommended reading.
Five years ago the Enterprise newspaper ran a good story about the tragedy that included an interview with the last-surviving member of the FD who was working the fire. It's worth your time to CLICK HERE and read the entire article.
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