Milwaukee, WI Firemen Overcome by Fumes, Apr 1915
FIREMEN POISONED BY ARSENIC FUMES
Seven Men Including Deputy Chief Langford Overcome After Leaving Small Blaze.
FIVE SENT TO HOSPITAL
Blaze at Which Men Were Prostrated Like Milwaukee Fire After Which Twelve Died.
Deputy Chief Langford got one whiff of the fumes which poured from the quarters of the Sheffield Standard Plating Company on the second floor of 206-208 Canal Street early last evening and then ordered the men of Engine 31 and Truck 6 to get out of the place at once. some chemicals were giving off fumes which the Chief recognized as containing arsenic, and although there was no fire, he knew that the fumes were more deadly than any smoke or flame. Several hours later he himself was overcome by the poison and five men had been taken to the hospitals.
Firemen Louis Keller and Frederick Hendrick of Truck 6 succumbed in the quarters of their company at 77 Canal Street and were removed to Gouveneur Hospital. Battalion Chief Crowley and Fireman Morrell, also of Truck 6, became ill later and were hurried to the hospital also.
Then an alarm came in for a small fire in the upper stories of a rear building back of 17 John Street. Fireman John Spineer, Crowley's driver, was working there when he sank down. Dr. Archer, the Fire Department surgeon, said he was suffering from poison received at the first fire and sent him to Volunteer Hospital.
Captain Sidney Johnson of Fire Patrol 1 was also taken sick in quarters, but was not removed to the hospital. Dr. Archer said he and Chief Langford were not as badly affected as the others and probably would recover without going to a hospital.
Chief Kenlon said that the Canal Street blaze was like a fire in Milwaukee two years ago, after which twelve firemen, none of whom complained while fighting the fire, died within twenty-four hours of poisoning.
Rescue Company 1 was called to the work yesterday, and the men with their oxygen helmets entered the place and found that a thirty-two-gallon cauldron was filled with bubbling chemicals which were boiling and giving off the deadly fumes. They bailed the cauldron out until they could lift it, and then emptied its contents into the sewer. The wooden floor was smouldering, but there was no fire.
The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Apr 1915