Please remember the 9 Boston Firefighters who died in the line of duty in the worst firefighting tragedy in the history of the Boston Fire Department 41 years ago today on June 17, 1972. The building was largely empty the afternoon of Saturday June 17, 1972, save for a few people performing renovations. One of the workers discovered that a fire had begun in an enclosed space between the third and fourth floors, and at 2:35pm rang Box 1571. A working fire was called in at 2:44, and subsequent alarms were rung at 2:46, 3:02, and 3:06. A total of 16 engine companies, five ladder companies, two aerial towers, and a heavy rescue company responded.
The fire was brought largely under control by 4:30pm. Several crews, including Boston Fire Department Ladder 13 and Engines 22 and 32, remained on scene performing overhaul and cleanup. At 5:28pm, abruptly and without warning, all five floors of a 40-by-45 foot section at the southeast corner of the building collapsed, burying a ladder truck and 17 firefighters beneath a two-story pile of debris.
Occurring one day prior to the Father's Day holiday, eight firemen were injured, and nine lost their lives in the worst firefighting disaster in Boston history (in terms of loss of firefighters). The men who were killed were: Fire Fighter Thomas W. Beckwith Fire Fighter Joseph F. Boucher Lieutenant Thomas J. Carroll Fire Fighter Charles E. Dolan Lieutenant John E. Hanbury, Jr. Fire Fighter John E. Jameson Fire Fighter Richard B. Magee Fire Fighter Paul J. Murphy Fire Fighter Joseph P. Saniuk