Boston, MA Wall Falls At Factory Fire, Oct 1964

Scene at Fire Fatal Fire


Boston, (AP) -- Five firemen were killed yesterday when the wall of a fire-ravaged vacant toy factory collapsed and buried them in tons of brick and mortar.
A sixth man, a civilian trapped in the wreckage, died later in a hospital.

Acting Chief's Son Killed.
Acting Fire Chief JOHN E. CLOUGHERTY arrived at the scene shortly after the wall collapsed. His son, ROBERT J. CLOUGHERTY, 31, was one of the victims.
"My boy, my boy. Oh my God," shouted Chief CLOUGHERTY when he learned his son had been killed.
He said later: "He could have been killed in Korea, but a lousy 50-cent building fell on him."
The other dead: LT. JOHN GESWELL, 40; LT. JOHN McCORKLE, 53; PVT. FRANCIS L. MURPHY, 42; PVT. JAMES B. SHEDDY, 38; ANDREW SHEEHAN, 25, of Milton, a civilian.
LT. McCORKLE, a fireman for 27 years, had just returned from a vacation. He was to have celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary last night.
At the kitchen table of his Charleston home later, Chief CLOUGHERTY sat quietly. His face, still grime-covered, was streaked with tears. Beside him sat MRS. CLOUGHERTY -- the wife of one fireman and the mother of two others.
She had known fear and anguish before. Every time an alarm rang her heart beat faster for her husband and her sons, PVT. BOBBY and LT. JOHN.

Recalls Terrible Scene.
CLOUGHERTY spoke softly as he recalled the terrible scene he witnessed a few hours earlier, he said:
"I was on call last night. I was in bed. They called me on the phone and my driver picked me up."
"When we arrived at the scene someone was yelling for ambulances and stretchers. The wall had collapsed. I don't know if the top blew off. It was evident the top floor had blown or fallen out."
"There was rubble in the street and they were dragging out bodies and rescuing men."
The chief paused, reached for his wife's hand and squeezed it. Then he continued:
"I was there a half-hour before I was told BOBBY had been taken to City hospital. They didn't tell me, but I had a pretty good idead of his condition the way they were talking."
The chief's thoughts drifted to BOBBY'S two children. BOBBY, JR., 3, and DENISE, 2. He recalled the family was planning a party for Oct. 24 to celebrate the fifth wedding anniversary of the young fireman and his wife.
Again he spoke: "They had removed all the victims but one when I arrived. I saw them take the last one out but I didn't know it was my boy. How could I tell? When I got to the hospital they told me he had already been removed to the mortuary. My boy is no more."
"I fought a lot of fires with him. He loved his job."
The chief said, "We have 14 children and BOBBY is the first break in the family."
CLOUGHERTY rose slowly from the table and said "you'll have to excuse me now, I'm goin to church."
And he walked out of the house -- to pray.
Fire commissioner THOMAS J. GRIFFIN stood silent and staring at the heaped debris as the flames died down. Later in the day he announced that the Fire Prevention week parade scheduled for Sunday had been canceled.
"The intent of the parade," he said, "was to impress on all the people the need for constant vigilance against fire," and he added:
"I believe a most impressive lesson in the matter of fire prevention has been thrust upon all of us."
Deputy Fire Chief JOHN McCARTHY, one of the first high ranking officers to reach the scene, explained the wall collapse this way:
"The men were rearranging the (hose) lines in front of the building. Then the front wall let go into the street. There was no way of telling the wall was going to collapse. Usually before a collapse there is a rumble. There was no rumble this time."

The Bridgeport Telegram Connecticut 1964-10-02

Boston (AP) -- Injured in the fire which killed five fire fighters today were the following, all under treatment at Boston city hospital:
Deputy Chief FREDERICK P. CLAUSS, 49, Dorchester.
Lt. CHRISTOPHER FRASER, 53, Roslindale.
Lt. JOHN CAMPBELL, 41, West Roxbury.
Lt. ROBERT McGINNIS, 39, West Roxbury.
Pvt. FRANCIS ENRICI, 42, Jamaica Plain.
Pvt. JOHN T. MAHER, 39, South Boston.
Pvt. JOHN M. MORRISSEY, 43, South Boston.
Pvt. JAMES L. FITZGIBBONS, 43, West Roxbury.
Pvt. GEORGE H. RUSHION, 37, Hyde Park.
Pvt. HENRY J. SCHNEIDER, 44, Dorchester.
Pvt. WALTER S. KABACHUS, 38, Dorchester.
Pvt. JOHN J. GEDDIS, 49, South Boston.
ANDREW SHEEHAN, 25, Milton, a civilian.

The Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1964-10-01