Boston, MA Restaurant And Armory Fire, Nov 1942

Armory Ruins Ruins Of Blaze

SIX MEN DIE IN BOSTON AT ARMORY FIRE.

TWO SCORE OTHERS ARE IN HOSPITAL; BLAZE IS STARTED BY GREASE IN RESTAURANT.

BUILDING FALLS.

FIREMEN ARE TRAPPED IN WRECKAGE; TRUCK IS CRUSHED.

Boston, Nov. 16 (AP) -- In one of the greatest tolls taken by a Boston fire since the turn of the century, six firemen lay dead and two score others were under hospital care today after being ppulled from the debris of old Armory Hall in Maverick Square, East Boston.
Fire Chief SAMUEL J. POPE said the fire started in grease on the kitchen stove of a restaurant. He estimated damage to the four-story structure at $45,000. In addition, a $20,000 aerial ladder truck was crushed when a wall of the building collapsed.
Hardly had the smoke cleared from the collapsed structure than money was being raised for families of the victims. Firemen in Lynn, Mass., started the fund off with a $200 contribution.
Firemen said that not since the so-called Merrimac street fire of 1898, when six lives were lost, had so many persons perished in a fire in this city. The collapse of the Pickwick Club on July 4, 1925, took 44 lives, but fire wasn't a factor.
The fire in Armory Hall, once a scene of political rallies and more recently housing a taproom, a restaurant, a liquor store and a dine and dance place known as LUONGO'S Cafe, appeared to be a routine two-alarm blaze when it was discovered at about 2:30 a.m. yesterday.
Firemen apparently had it under control and a number of them had entered the building to quell the remaining flames when a wall on the street side collapsed without warning.
Part of the wall fell inward, causing the death of the six firemen and temporarily trapping others, while the other part of the wall tumbled outward, showering debris on firemen on the sidewalks and crushing the ladder truck.
The dead:
FRANK DEGAN, 24, South Boston.
JOHN F. FOLEY, 57, East Boston.
EDWARD F. MACOMBER, 47, South Boston.
DANIEL E. McGUIRE, 44, East Boston.
PETER F. McMORROW, 46, Dorchester.
MALACHI F. REDDINGTON, 48, Mattapan.
Forty priests joined the firemen in the rescue work. One priest, wading in knee deep water in a section of the basement, gave conditional absolution to the trapped men.
Another priest, climbing a ladder to the top of the masonry pile, administered last rites as the dead were carried away.
It was hours before some of the dead, trapped under fallen beams, were removed. Three giant cranes aided in lifting away the debris.

The Kingston Daily Freeman New York 1942-11-16