Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Michael Burns
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Truckman
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range [Unknown]
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 4/13/1887
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Burns
Attribute of Death Smoke inhalation
Type of Duty Firefighting operations , Ventilation operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 4/13/1887
Incident Location Store/Office
Incident Attribute Explosions , Fires

Incident Summary

On April 13, 1887, Chicago Fire Department Truckman Michael Burns of Truck 9 died in the line of duty while fighting a commercial fire on North Wabash Avenue.

Firefighters arrived on scene shortly after 8AM, and Burns and another firefighter climbed the building’s standpipe to the fifth floor. The two firefighters entered the building through a window, to ventilate the fifth floor, but their entry point was almost immediately cut off by flames. While the other firefighter darted through the flames and escaped back out the window, Burns moved further into the building to try and exit via the stairwell.

After the flames at the window were extinguished, the second firefighter returned to the fifth floor, but he discovered that Burns had been overcome by smoke and suffocated to death. The fire progressed after Burns’ body was recovered, and the building was largely destroyed in the blaze.


“Yesterday’s Big Fire,” Chicago Daily Tribune, April 14, 1887.

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