Alber, Edwin Wm. (Batt. Chief)
Beckman, Walter (Lt.)
Blake, Raymond W. (Capt.)
Blankenship, Elby (Capt)
Budde, Henry (Lt.)
Card, Albert (Lt.)
Craig, John H.
Crider, Howard B.
Diehl, Edward B.
Dunsford, Frank J. (Batt. Chief)
Eckert, William F.
Fahey, Frank (Batt. Chief)
Fette, Arthur S. (Capt.)
Flanagan, James (Capt.)
Frankel, Frank (Capt.)
Gavin, John (Capt.)
Georgeton, Frank J. (Capt.)
Green, Edward, Lt.
Greiser, William E., Jr.
Hacker, Dan (Capt)
Hamilton, Robert S.
Helbig, Oliver A., Sr.
Hoell, Christ (Capt.)
Hoffman, Aug. (Lt.)
Hofstetter, Albert (Capt)
Johnson, Edward W. (Batt. Chief)
Jones, Frank C. (Capt.)
Kane, Michael (Lt.)
Kehoe, Michael (Lt.)
Kelly, Thomas (Lt.)
Kuhnert, William F.
Kussman, Frank (Capt.)
Letson, Benjamin (Capt.)
Lorbert, Clifford (Capt.)
Lynch, Daniel (Lt)
Lynch, Martin (Capt)
Lyons, Michael (Capt.)
McBride, Frank (Lt.)
McCall, Ralph R.
McKernan, Bernard (Capt.)
Miller, John D.
Morgan, Joseph W. (Chief)
Mullery, William F. (Capt.)
Nation, William H.
O'Brien, John F. (Capt.)
O'Connell, Dave (Capt.)
O'Niell, Hugh J.
Paschang, Clarence H.
Reichelt, Charles (Lt.)
Rogers, George I.
Rychlink, Frank J.
Schleifstein, Ervin (Capt.)
Shivley, Benjamin (Lt.)
Shockey, John (Batt. Chief)
Simpson, James B.
Simpson, Roy (Capt.)
Smith, B. M.
Smith, George (Capt.)
Staunton, John (Capt.)
Steele, Daniel (Capt.)
Sweeney, John (Capt.)
Taber, Elmer T.
Thierry, Aug. (Deputy Chief)
Thompson, Joseph (Capt.)
Tiff, Frank R. (Batt. Chief)
Titsworth, James E.
Wand, William (Capt.)
Waters, Michael (Lt.)
Werminghaus, Frank (Capt.)
Wolf, George (Capt.)
Young, George (Lt.)
Source: St. Louis Fire Department, by Frank C. Schaper and Betty Burnett; Arcadia Publishing;2003; ISBN 0-7385-3192-8
I need a complete listing, including other municipalities of St. Louis County,
please forward names to Scott K. Williams,
firstname.lastname@example.org so I can
these names added as well. Other information and pictures desired.
For more on Firemen and their equipment, please visit:
First Due Fire Museum, at St. Louis Mills Mall, 5555 St. Louis Mills Blvd., Hazelwood, Mo. 63042. 314-227-5911
The St. Louis Fire Museum, 1421 N. Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63106 314-289-1933
(If there are other Firemen museums in St. Louis City/County, please let me know so I can add them here.)
St. Louis Firemen marching in a funeral procession following the Christian Brothers College Fire (Oct 5, 1916), where six men were killed. Photo part of the Thomas Kempland Collection.
Born 1848 in the County Wicklow (near Dublin), Ireland, Phelim O'Toole went off to sea at the tender age of twelve. After serving as a cabin boy for a number of years, Phelim arrived in St. Louis by 1866, eventually becoming hired on as a fire fighter.
While he served with distinction from the beginning, it was at the fire of the Southern Hotel on April 11, 1877 where he became noted as a hero. The Southern Hotel, situated at the block bounded by Fourth, Fifth, Walnut and Elm Streets, was a six storied luxury hotel that boasted with over three hundred guests on that tragic night. When the fire broke out, a number of people became trapped on the upper floors, unable to escape the engulfing flames. Phelim O'Toole came first on the scene aboard a "Skinner escape truck" (an early hook and ladder pulled by horses). Seeing people trapped, above the reach of the longest ladder, did not discourage O'Toole. After climbing the ladder as far as possible, he instructed the people to lower bedsheets tied to bedposts in his direction. O'toole then swung out on a rope, grabbed hold of the bed sheet and climbed up to the smoke-filled room. Next he lowered the individuals to safety below before taking on another rescue operation. The very last being was saved just "minutes before the entire building collapsed".While 21 people would die in the fire, O'Toole rescued 12 from certain death. As one young lady (Johanna Halpin) that was rescued would say, he "dropped into the window like an angel of God".
Out of gratitude for his actions, the citizens of St. Louis awarded him a check for $500. For a fireman with a $75 monthly salary this was a considerable sum of money. O'Toole simply donated the money to help orphans and in his modesty he always down played the importance of his actions, by pointing out the heroics of other firefighters, like Michael Hester (pictured above).
When called on another fire located at the St. Louis courthouse O'Toole again demonstrated his bravery. From the courthouse dome, he dangled on a rope while extinguishing the fire through a hole he had chopped in the roof. It was because of these daring exploits, which O'Toole's emerged unscathed, that made the accident which took his life the ever more surprising.
It was on July 6, 1880, O'Toole was called to extinguish a small fire located in the basement of a vacant house. In a freak accident, the fire extinguisher suddenly exploded with such force that tore open the 32 year old firefighter's chest. Phelim O'Toole's last words, "My God, I am Killed" After a funeral Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral, O'Toole was buried at Calvary cemetery. It is said that 20,000 St. Louisans mourned his passing.
Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay in 1881 recalled, "He was a hero, the true stuff, and St. Louis ought to be proud that he was one of her own. But I will venture to say that there are many who have never heard of the deeds of the brave Phelim O'Toole."
In keeping O'Toole's memory alive, the St. Louis Fire
Department has christened their Fire Marine Rescue Unit's fireboat, the "Phelim
O'Toole". The twin engined 32- foot boat was donated by the U.S. Coastguard in 1994. It
is based at Engine House 11, at S. Seventh and Pestalozzi St. It is equipped
with an impressive 500-gallon-per-minute
water pump for fighting fires.
It should also be said that Phelim O'Toole has descendants living in the St. Louis vicinity.
There's brav'ry in battle, when cannons resound,
And men who in shipwreck are steady and cool;
But never has an equal been found
To the courage and brav'ry of Phelim O'Toole.
He's brave and he's gallant without knowing why;
He cares not for science; he cares not for rule;
His philosphy's this: To save, he will die;
There is but one Phelim, and he's an O'Toole!
Brave Phelim O'Toole mounts higher and higher,
And reaches the high elevation at last;
He bears fainting women from torturing fire
Down the perilous ladder the danger is past.
Full many an ev'ning these girls have all sought,
The angels of mercy in heavenly glow;
They never imagined, the never once thought,
An angel of safety would come from below.
The example of brav'ry, where can it be learned?
Who is the teacher? where is the school?
Where can the highest position be earn'd?
Go take you first lesson from Phelim O'Toole!
He'll tell you in heaven he always relies,
And then calmly waits for duty to call;
When time comes for action, grim death he defies,
No dangers deter him, no terrors appal.
When others are losing their reasoning powers,
Be watchful and careful, be steady, keep cool;
Care not tho' ev'ry one falters and cow'rs,
But march boldly forward like Phelim O'Toole.
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