Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Frank Catalano
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 36 to 40
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 3/23/1954
Cause of Death Struck by object
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty [Unknown]

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 3/23/1954 7:0
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Basement fires , Structural collapses , Explosions , Fires

Incident Summary

On March 23, 1954, a fire erupted at Rocco Rizzo & Son, a paper company on Taylor Street in Chicago. The fire was started around 7 A.M. when Michael Rizzo, owner of the company, added refuse to the fire in the company’s basement boiler. The fire flared, spreading sparks around the room and igniting piles of rags and papers. The Chicago Fire Department quickly responded to the alarm and firefighters were beginning to attack the blaze when a large blast caused by the heat and smoke inside the building brought down one of the structure’s walls. Twelve firefighters who had been spraying hoses through the basement windows or operating on ladders were buried by the debris, and Firefighters Frank Catalano and Howard Mitchell died from their injuries.


“2 Firemen Die, 12 are Injured as Wall Falls,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 24, 1954.

“Start Inquest in Fire Deaths,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 25, 1954.

“Inquest into 2 Fire Deaths is Continued,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 6, 1954.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record


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