Images and a map depicting a 5-11 Alarm fire in Chicago at a cold storage warehouse that occurred 3/17/74.
From the collection of Steve Redick:
April 12, 1953, 5-11 with many dead, Haber Corporation 908 W North Ave
March 13, 1965, 2-11 at Fulton & Damen in Chicago
I returned from Arkansas with a lot of my dad’s collection. One of the things he had displayed on his wall was a series of 3 x 5 color prints from a 5-11 he and I were at in 1974. This was a cold storage warehouse and I recall it burned for days. I also remember at some point the building collapsed onto an adjacent structure causing the transmission of another extra alarm. We took it in well after the initial alarm and toured the fireground getting these shots of some classic rigs in action. The image with Big John in the background is probably one of the few images you will see with both guns working. Most times they couldn’t muster up the water supply to use both. Also note the 2000-GPM LaFrances often used both ports on the hydrant. They had an order that no other pumper was to share a hydrant with a 2,000-gallon rig, thus giving them the ability to use both steamer ports.
These photos were in horrendous condition … colors way off and faded. I was surprised at how much of the damaged images I was able to restore. They are far from perfect but at least they are now useable. I bet if I made them B&W they would be near perfect. Enjoy the history.
This image is from January 1986 … a dark day in the CFD. This was the Mark Twain Hotel, 111 W Division, and Lt Edmund Coglianese of 98 was killed here. The fire ocurred on Super Bowl Sunday, when the Bears played New England. The real scope of this tragedy was overshadowed by the super bowl victory … a terrible situation made so much worse by the hooplah of the victory. This was a dumpy SRO with tiny cubicle-like rooms. I believe the the Lt either had a mask malfunction and or ran out of air. They had an aweful time getting him out of the building.
I can only imagine how bad conditions were in this case … maze-like interior, zero visibility, severe fire conditions, difficult searches, and a tough time getting a line down what must have been a long nasty hallway. I had recently met Edmund when he brought his son’s Boyscout troop up to the office for a tour. A nice man who left behind a wonderful family. I will never forget the fact that he was the one who answered me on the amplifier when I gave him what turned out to be his last run … this still stays with me 30 years later. I can only imagine the pain his family must still feel every day.
Going into the way-back machine for this fire on the northwest corner of Belmont and Pulaski. This building still stands today and is still a corner tavern. Kind of a neat series of images as the unknown photographer catches companies pulling up with smoke pushing out the side door. As the fire is brought under control, you can see a dog mounted on top of Engine 91’s Ahrens-Fox. The final image is kind of funny as a car goes driving down Belmont with a couch tied to the roof. I could not find any markings to identify either of the trucks, and in the final image there is what I believe is a squad on Pulaski to the far right.