Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name John McLean
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Captain
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 61 to 70
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 8/11/1887
Cause of Death Contact/Exposure
Nature of Death Pneumonia
Attribute of Death Smoke inhalation
Type of Duty Firefighting operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 8/3/1887
Incident Location Industry/ Manufacturing
Incident Attribute Fires

Incident Summary

On August 3, 1887, Chicago Fire Department Captain John McLean of Engine 3 was overcome while fighting a fire in a mill on North Branch Street. McLean suffered from smoke inhalation and heat exposure during the fire, and he developed pneumonia the following day. McLean never recovered from his illness, and he died on August 11.

Funeral services for McLean, the oldest captain the department, were held at the Engine 3 firehouse on August 14.

McLean was born in Canada around 1817, and settled in Chicago during the 1840s. He originally joined the Chicago Fire Department as a volunteer, and was one of the first paid members of the department. A veteran of the U.S. Civil War, McLean was an original member of Engine 3.


“Goose Island’s Fiery Visitation,” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 4, 1887.

Obituary for John McLean, Chicago Daily Tribune, August 15, 1887.

Firefighter and Incident Images

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Firefighter and Incident Audio

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