memorial

Name: BARNES, William W.
DOD: February 16, 1955
House: Baltimore City FD
County: BALTIMORE CITY
Age: 42
Years of Service: 9

Baltimore City Fire Department ~Baltimore ~ Maryland Tuesday February 16,1955 Box No.12 was sounded at 9:02 p.m. The Tru-Fit Clothing Company 507-509 E. Baltimore St was afire. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and a raging cellar fire in the 80-foot long 3-story brick building that also had a one story rear addition. The ground floor of the building was mostly all concrete. In order to reach the fire, holes had to be cut in the wooden portions of the floor ,then multiple hose pipes were put into play. The fire quickly went multiple alarms with the 6th alarm being sounded at 10:17 p.m. The blaze was finally knocked and firefighters entered into the basement of the building to put out any remaining flames and to commence with salvage and overhaul. At approximately 10:55 p.m.,the Chief Engineer and the 5th Battalion Chief climbed onto the roof of the one story rear addition. Suddenly, the addition collapsed into the basement ,pulling the walls inward with it , and burying the firefighters in the basement under tons of rubble and debris. Firefighters jumped into the ruins and started frantically digging through the rubble to uncover and rescue their brothers. Dozens of Baltimore City Fire Department firefighters were injured as a result of the building fire and collapse at the Tru-Fit Clothing Company. Tragically, 6 firefighters lost their lives. . Battalion Chief Francis Patrick O'Brien was 53 years old and had served 31 years. . Firefighter Rudolph Andrew Machovec ( E-15) was 42 years old and had served 12 years. . Firefighter Richard F. Melzer ( E-15) was 29 years old and had served 4 years. . Firefighter William W. Biff " Barnes (E-17) was 42 years old and had served 9 years. . Firefighter Anthony M. Reinsfelder (E-13) was 32 years old and had served 6 years. . Firefighter Joseph C. Hanley,Jr. (E-13) was 34 years old and had served 4 years.


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