Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name James Hughes
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Deputy Fire Marshal
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 56 to 60
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 5/8/1955
Cause of Death Stress/Overexertion , Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Heart attack
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 4/28/1955
Incident Location Public assembly
Incident Attribute Structural collapses , Arson , Fires

Incident Summary

Two Chicago Fire Department officers died in the line of duty following an April 28, 1955, arson fire at a hotel on N. Green Street. Captain Edward Duller of Engine 42, a member of the department for thirteen years, died when a stairway collapsed under him and six other firefighters during the 4-11 fire, and Second Deputy Fire Marshal James R. Hughes, a thirty-three year veteran, suffered a heart attack during the blaze and died ten days later.

Firefighters rescued more than fifty occupants from the hotel, but seven occupants were killed and more than twenty were injured. Two smaller fires had occurred at the same hotel during the preceding year, and investigators determined that the fatal fire had been deliberately started.

Both Duller and Hughes had been recognized for exceptional bravery during their careers, and Hughes, one of ten firefighters in his family, had received the Chicago Tribune “Hero Award” in 1953.

Memorial services were held for Duller at St. Stephen’s Church on May 2, 1955, and funeral mass was held for Hughes on May 11, 1955, at the Little Flower Church.


“5 Die, 10 Hurt In 2 Fires!” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 28, 1955.

“2 Fire Probes Open Today,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1955.

“Fire Captain’s Widow Mourns Hero Husband,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1955.

“Fire Officials Blame Hotel Blaze Fatal to 8 on Arson,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 30, 1955.

“Fire Captain’s Widow Given Check for $500,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 1, 1955.

“Fire Captain’s Funeral Rites Attended by 450,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 3, 1955.

“James Hughes, High Ranking Fireman, Dies,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 9, 1955.

“James Hughes Last Mass Set For Tomorrow,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 10, 1955.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record


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