Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John Naperala
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Firefighter
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 51 to 55
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 2/22/1940
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Asphyxiation
Attribute of Death Smoke inhalation
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 2/22/1940
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Fires

Incident Summary

On February 22, 1940, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter John Naperala of Truck 28 died in the line of duty while fighting a fire at the Lamkin Leather Company on North Damen Avenue. The fire started when a pot of wax boiled over and spread flames to containers of resin that then exploded. Naperala was overcome by smoke and chemical fumes while on the third floor of the building and collapsed. He was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Funeral services for Naperala were held at St. Priscilla’s Church on February 26, and he was buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.


“Fireman Dies of Smoke Fumes in $1,500 Blaze,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 23, 1940.

Obituary of John Naperala, Chicago Daily Tribune, February 25, 1940.

Firefighter and Incident Images

Firefighter and Incident Audio

No Audio for this Firefighter/Incident record


11 Gerty Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
Driving Directions
Contact Us
Phone: (217) 333-3800
            (800) 437-5819
Fax: (217) 244-6790
Phone: (217) 333-8925
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Social Media

You are encouraged to use this site for individual educational purposes only; however copy and/or reprinting of any materials and photographs without authorization is strictly prohibited. Please obtain permission by contacting

© 2021 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois