Brockton Fire Museum

Brockton Fire Museum Brockton Fire Museum
(61)

open by appointment only for January and February call for group tours

05/25/2020
It is with regret that we announce the passing of retired Firefighter  Mark D. O'Donoghue https://www.tillmanfuneralhome...
05/20/2020
Obituary for Mark D. O'Donoghue at Tillman Funeral Home & Crematory

It is with regret that we announce the passing of retired Firefighter Mark D. O'Donoghue

https://www.tillmanfuneralhome.com/obituary/mark-odonoghue?lud=15FF0D85AF1802AD68B494872C266043&fbclid=IwAR1uT_2c9d2ihMUuiKA-U-9uvge9H3yJ7yf4Sz0TcglVSXcTtaYgP9y-icY

Mark Dineen ODonoghue Long time Brockton Firefighter Mark Dineen ODonoghue, age 81, born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, passed away on May 12 in Boynton Beach, Florida after a battle with Alzheimers Disease. Mark was born on January 18, 1939 in Brockton. He was the son of the late Bernard

Lets help Abington ID this Arson suspect.
05/11/2020

Lets help Abington ID this Arson suspect.

Last week 2 fires were set in the Abington Walmart. Police want to talk to this person who fled in a bicycle. Someone has to know him. Anyone with information on the suspect accused of setting the fires is urged to call Officer Brian Feely at 781-878-3232 ext. 5326 or email him at [email protected].

Thank you Mayor Sullivan
05/04/2020

Thank you Mayor Sullivan

Today is #InternationalFirefightersDay, a day to honor the brave men and women who run into burning buildings and towards danger to keep our community safe. Thank you to everyone at the Brockton Fire Department and Brockton Firefighters Local IAFF 144 for all that you do.

Thank you for your support
05/04/2020

Thank you for your support

Today is international firefighters’ today. A huge thank you to these frontline heroes, especially our own Brockton Fire Fighters Local 144!

Last week the William P. Lipper son of a Strand Theater survivor William H. Lipper  passed away.. Martin Lipper the elde...
04/27/2020

Last week the William P. Lipper son of a Strand Theater survivor William H. Lipper passed away.. Martin Lipper the elder William's brother passed away in the fire. His grandson Micheal found this letter that notified his grandfather that he was hired as a firefighter in March of 1936. Thank you for sharing Michael.

04/26/2020

1962 April 26th- A roaring two alarm fire in an empty building at 14 Calmar Street threatened to spread to nearby wooden apartment. The blaze was started by two brothers age five and seven who admitted to playing with matches.

04/25/2020

1967 April 25th- Two young girls 10 and 8 years old playing with marbles on the kitchen floor cause fire. A marble rollled under a gas clothes dryer. In lifting the dryer to retrieve the marble they caused the gas line to become disconnected. They escaped, but the dwelling at 738 North Cary St. was heavily damaged at 5:21 P.M.

04/24/2020

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 24th,1968 - The vacant home of the Brockton Police on VFW Partway and East Elm Street was destroyed by fire in an early morning blaze. The building was just vacated in February when the police moved to a new headquarters on Commercial Street.

04/23/2020
22 Yarmouth Ave. Brockton burned body (Other) 4/23/2003..

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 23, 2003 - Shortly before midnight Engine 5 was sent to the end of Yarmouth Ave for an outside fire. On arrival they found a fire along the wood line and thought it was a store mannequin that was burning. Further investigation determined that it was a women's body. Local and State Police joined the Fire Prevention Bureau in its investigation. The District attorney's office hired world renowned experts to assist in the investigation. To this day no cause of the fire has been determined. Anyone with info should contact the Brockton Fire Department. Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS1c31ll9DE

22 Yarmouth Ave. Brockton burned body (Other) 4/23/2003 23:56 Hrs.

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 22, 2011 About 04:15 hours Squad A was dispatched for a possible outside fire in the area of...
04/22/2020
Brockton, MA W/F 4/22/2011 - 105firephotos

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 22, 2011 About 04:15 hours Squad A was dispatched for a possible outside fire in the area of 810 Pleasant St on the city's west side. Upon arrival Lt McDonald of Squad A requested a Box Alarm for 30 x 80' a storage building with a barn as an exposure at Gary's Farm . Engine's 5,4 Ladder 1 and Car 56 responded. Crews ran several big lines to knock down the fire in about 20 minutes. Tower Co 1 was dispatched as the w/f company and assisted in overhaul. The fire was most likely electrical in nature. Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum!
www.105firephotos.com/2011FIRES-1/Brockton-MA-WF-4222011

About 04:15 Squad A was dispatched for a possible outside fire in the area of 810 Pleasant St on the citiy's west side. Upon arrival Lt McDonald of Squad A requested a Box Alarm for 30 x 80' a storage building with a barn as an exposure. Engine's 5,4 Ladder 1 and Car 56 responded. Crews ran several....

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 21st, 2013 Brockton FAO received a call for a garage fire on the west side of the city. Firs...
04/21/2020
Brockton, MA ACW 4/21/2013 - 105firephotos

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 21st, 2013 Brockton FAO received a call for a garage fire on the west side of the city. First arriving comoany Engine 5 reported smoke showing from thegarage attached to the house. One line was used to knock down the fire which was located in the loft area. Engines 5, 2, Squad A and Ladder 1 responded along with Car 56. Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum!

www.105firephotos.com/2013Fires/Brockton-MA-ACW-4212013/

Brockton FAO received a call for a garage fire on the west side of the city. First arriving comoany Engine 5 reported smoke showing from thegarage attached to the house. One line was used to knock down the fire which was located in the loft area. Engines 5, 2, Squad A and Ladder 1 responded along wi...

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 20th, 2008 - A Brockton Firefighter on his way home from a day shift discovered a fire at th...
04/20/2020
Brockton MA 4/20/2008 3rd Alarm on Keith Ave. - 105firephotos

A MOMENT OF HISTORY - April 20th, 2008 - A Brockton Firefighter on his way home from a day shift discovered a fire at this historic home on Keith Ave. The fire began in the basement and traveled the walls reaching all floors of the building eventually reaching a third alarm. Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum!
http://www.105firephotos.com/2008-Fires/Brockton-MA-4202008-3rd-Alarm/

Brockton MA April 20, 2008 a cellar fire was discovered in this large 2 1/2 woodframe house.

A MOMENT IN A MOMENT IN HISTORY  April 18, 2010 - Just before 4 a.m. on 4/8 box 1334 was transmitted for a house fire. 1...
04/18/2020
Brockton, MA W/F 4/8/2010 - 105firephotos

A MOMENT IN A MOMENT IN HISTORY April 18, 2010 - Just before 4 a.m. on 4/8 box 1334 was transmitted for a house fire. 1st arriving Companies found heavy smoke froman occupied 2 1/2 wdfr. The fire started in the kitchen on floor 2 in the rear and quickly spread to the top floor..Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum! http://www.105firephotos.com/2010/Brockton-MA-WF-482010/

Just before 4 a.m. on 4/8 box 1334 was transmitted for a house fire. 1st arriving Companies found heavy smoke froman occupied 2 1/2 wdfr. The fire started in the kitchen on floor 2 in the rear and quickly spread to the top floor.

A MOMENT IN HISTORY  April 10, 1997 - This was the first of many fires in a several day period. Firefighters arrived to ...
04/10/2020
Brockton, MA 2nd Alarm 211 Pleasant St, 4/10/1997 - 105firephotos

A MOMENT IN HISTORY April 10, 1997 - This was the first of many fires in a several day period. Firefighters arrived to find the multi family home well involved in fire. A second alarm was struck fast bring more help as the first arriving crews were consumed with the task of pulling victims out of the building. Please share with your friends and ask them to LIKE the Brockton Fire Museum!
http://www.105firephotos.com/BrocktonFires1970-2000/Brockton-MA-2nd-Alarm-211/

My name is Bob Myers and I have been involved in fire photography for 40 years. Over the course of these years I have been fortunate to buff many fire throughout the New England area and beyond. I hope you enjoy the work here and please visit often. Thanks for viewing. This website does not reflect....

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of retired firefighter Joseph Catrabone of Ladder 1 at age 95. Obitu...
04/10/2020

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of retired firefighter Joseph Catrabone of Ladder 1 at age 95. Obituary will be posted when published.

The Grover Shoe Factory disaster that occurred on March 20, 1905 at 7:58 am at the corner of Main and Calmar Streets.Fir...
03/21/2020

The Grover Shoe Factory disaster that occurred on March 20, 1905 at 7:58 am at the corner of Main and Calmar Streets.
First Lutheran Church stands a couple hundred yards from where the explosion took place, though the current church was not erected until 1922, the congregation’s first building, a wooden church building stood on the same site in 1905....
The Grover Disaster
By Derek A. Canavan
There was a time not long ago when the men and women of Brockton were the most highly skilled shoemakers in the world. In 1900, if you wanted to wear the best shoes available, you purchased shoes made in Brockton. The two biggest shoe makers in Brockton in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were the W.L. Douglas Co. and the George E. Keith Co. Located on the city's north and south sides respectively, these two shoe companies were called the "Bookends of Brockton." Douglas' shoes and George E. Keith's Walk-Over shoes were the Pepsi and Coca-Cola of the shoe industry. However, Douglas and Keith were not the only makers of fine shoes in Brockton. Mr. R. B. Grover was the owner of the R.B. Grover Shoe Co. Like W.L. Douglas, Grover was an officer in the Union Army during the US Civil War. After the war he came to Brockton and soon started making shoes. At the turn of the century, R.B. Grover Co. was the maker of the popular Emerson Shoe. The Emerson was one of the best shoes available. Designed to be fashionable yet affordable, R.B. Grover made each Emerson shoe from the finest leather and the shoe was designed with a custom last providing maximum comfort and durability. Though not the manufacturing Goliath of the Douglas or Keith companies, by 1905 R. B. Grover Co. had thirty-three stores and skyrocketing sales. Grover was a force in the market.
The Emerson Shoe was so stylish and affordable that the R. B. Grover Co. was forced to add an entire floor to its factory just to keep pace with the demand. The Grover factory was a large and modern building. Mr. Grover made sure his employees worked in a clean and well ventilated workplace and the Grover employees were trained to use the most technologically advanced shoemaking machinery in the business. Though the company increased production by adding another floor onto the building, no evidence exists saying whether or not the engineers who expanded the factory ever addressed the issue of a pressure-boiler designed to serve three floors that now served four. This oversight would later prove disastrous.
Things were going well for the R.B. Grover Co. In February of 1905, the shoe factories of Brockton shipped almost fifty-six thousand cases of shoes. Production was at an all time high and the more
than four-hundred employees of Mr. R.B. Grover's factory began the month of March 1905 looking to increase their productivity even further. Little did they know that a great tragedy was about to befall them.
Located on the corner of Main and Calmar streets in the largely Swedish neighborhood of the Campello section of Brockton, the Grover factory burst into flames at 7:50 am on March 20, 1905. The over-worked pressure boiler exploded tearing through the four story building and turning it into a crematorium. The factory roof collapsed and the four floors crashed down on each other. Those workers who survived the explosion and collapse were now entombed beneath heavy timbers, flooring and thousands of pounds of the latest shoe manufacturing equipment. Unable to move, the workers were helpless and could only wait for the flames to consume them. It would not take long because the gas lines that fed the factory were broken and highly flammable gas fueled the fire. The Grover was a modern building and the more than three hundred glass windows, which had allowed the factory floor to be bathed in sunlight, now contributed to the chimney effect. Oxygen was pulled in through these windows causing the fire to burn hotter and faster than any fire the city's fire department had ever encountered. The combination of air, gas and ventilation, the last being the lack of a roof on the factory, turned this factory, and the buildings around it into a four acre cauldron of death. Of the three hundred plus workers who were in the building, roughly onehundred made it out unscathed. Fifty-eight people were killed, including some from surrounding buildings that also burned to the ground, and an additional one-hundred fifty people were injured. This was the largest boiler disaster in American industrial history up to that point and if not for the Steamship Sultana explosion in 1865 in which five-hundred returning Union soldiers were killed, the Grover disaster would have had the largest death toll of any boiler explosion in American history.
Tragic as this event was, the disaster brought out the best in the men and women of Brockton. The pages of The Brockton Enterprise and the Brockton Times for late March are full of these stories of heroism. The Campello Fire Station shared the block with the Grover factory and though it was not burned, it was said that the bricks on its south facing wall were warm to the touch for two days after the fire. The men of the Campello firehouse were heroes that day. As hundreds of workers and residents of the Campello
neighborhood ran from the fire, the Campello firefighters charged into the inferno looking for workers whose cries for help were barely audible over the roar of the flames. Accounts of the day record one firefighter named Moore, who ran into the building and armed only with a firefighter's axe, began hacking away at a thick metal gate that blocked the escape of three workers. Reports indicate these three workers were saved.
The pastor of St. Margaret's Church, then a wooden structure just across the street from the blaze and itself in danger from the flames, ran into the factory just after the roof collapse. Ignoring the flames, smoke and intense heat surrounding him, the priest managed to lift heavy floor joists off of some trapped workers and escort them to safety. The pastor went back in to repeat his task and he himself was seriously injured when part of the building fell on him.
The full account of the disaster, published in 1907, makes specific mention of Mr. George E. Smith, an employee of the R.B. Grover Co. who was trapped and pinned to the floor by his feet. Unable to move or escape the flames himself, Smith, "large of frame and big of heart" still managed, using only his arms, to rescue his nephew and pull a Mrs. Lena S. Baker out from under some debris. Mrs. Baker owed her life to her rescuer but would never get the opportunity to thank him. George E. Smith burned to death in the flames. Olive Smith was left to explain to her and George's three young daughters why their father was not going to come home from the factory that day. Young Viola, Lillian and Mattie Smith were three of the fifty-five dependent children who lost a mother or father that day. Baby Leonis M. Final's mother had died sometime before his second birthday. He was two years old when his father, Wallace died in the Grover Fire. Leonis was left in the care of a guardian. He would never know his parents.
Under the leadership of then Mayor, the Hon. Edward H. Keith, the site of the disaster was searched for the bodies of those who died. In fact, Mayor Keith personally supervised the final search himself and once that search was complete, Mayor Keith ordered one more search at the request of dozens of grieving family members who watched from the sidewalk. The remains of the victims were for the most part not identifiable. Accounts of the recovery effort detail just how grisly an affair it was. The searchers reported finding only small fragments of bone in some areas closest to Denton
Street, or the rear of the factory. All of the remains were taken to a building in the downtown section of Brockton and held there until April when a proper burial site had been prepared.
Mayor Keith was very aggressive in his response to this disaster. Before the last body had been cleared, Mayor Keith and the civic and business leaders in the city had created the Brockton Relief Fund to aid the sufferers from the disaster and their many dependents. Under the guidance of Mayor Keith, this fund would go on to distribute nearly $ 105,000 in cash relief to those in need. The administrators of the fund managed to do this while keeping administrative costs down to less than one-fourth of one percent. The written account of the fund explains it this way, "it took one cent to distribute four dollars."
The City Council approved expenditure for a grave and memorial at Melrose Cemetery on Pearl Street on the city's west side. The large granite monument is visible in the southeast section of the cemetery and those interested in the Grover disaster would be well served to go and view it. There are forty victims buried on the site and their bodies are laid out like "spokes in the wheel all pointing to a common center" which is the granite monument itself.
In the wake of this tragedy, the entire city mourned. There were funeral marches and church services all around the city. The role of Brockton's church communities, as varied in denomination as they were, cannot be overstated. Loss and suffering brings people to their houses of worship. We saw that in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. In the days following the Grover fire, the local churches held countless services, administered to the bereaved and took care of those in need. The Lutherans cared for the Baptists and the Catholics gave clothing to the Methodists. Each church community reached out to each other's flock regardless of creed. The city of Brockton was united in tragedy.
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the time was Brockton's own W.L. Douglas. In the months following the Grover disaster, Massachusetts would create the most stringent laws governing boilers and their capacity in the country. The Massachusetts Boiler Code would later be used as the national model. The site of the R.B. Grover factory itself lay fallow for only a few years. Records indicate that by 1919, an automobile dealership was built. A Studebaker dealership would later occupy
the site as would a small food market. Much of the area has changed drastically since 1905. The Campello Fire Station is still the place to find heroes though the building's façade has been altered. The St. Margaret's Church was built and closed, victim of porous rock in its walls and a re-organization plan of the Boston Archdiocese. What has not changed is the spirit of the Brocktonians who live in the area. They remain a people unbowed by great challenges and ready for a bright future.
By Derek A. Canavan, March 2005
About the Author
Derek Canavan was born and raised in Brockton and he is the Second Assistant Curator at the Br ockton Historical Society. Mr. Canavan teaches History at Brockton High School.

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Brockton, MA
02301-1712

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Martin Edward Lipper (Uncle Marty - left) November 9, 1894 - March 10, 1941. Strand Theatre Fire Any information on who the other two firefighters are would be appreciated.🙂
Oddly enough, found this in Grandpa's book as well. United Underwear Corp. sold (I believe), Rayon undergarments that were designed to protect firefighters. The order sheet is really in miraculous condition and has an embossed company logo. The corresponding picture is 630 Washington Street (on the intersection of Essex and Boylston) where the Corporation was located.
Continuing on, as I have a lot of cool things to share! Found this in my Grandfather's "History of the BFD 1935" book. Names were written on the back with the caption/date. My apologies if the names are wrong. My Grandfather is obviously third from left.
My Dad just passed on the 14th and I wanted to share this with you. This was my Grandfather. This is connected to the Strand Theater fire due to the fact that he was there and his Brother, Martin, my Uncle, died in that fire.
Good afternoon! Trying to reach you by telephone but the listed number does not seem to go through. Looking for information regarding allowing my chapter of the Red Knights International Motorcycle Club to come to the museum for a visit. When you have a moment could you please message me through fb with a contact number I can reach someone at. I do not wish to post my number here for obvious reasons. I also work for Brewster Ambulance in the Education Department and have taught countless classes to the members of the Brockton Fire Department if you need a reference and/or do not know who I am. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you...
I just found my Father's (Daniel F. Harkins) Fire Department Appointment Letter from the then Mayor of Brockton in 1947. I Have included the letter plus photos. I believe my Father's badge number was 24, but could have been between 23 and 26... He served until his passing in 1972. He loved the Brockton Fire Department...
I'd say this story is about 1963....my Dad was at the fire station and it was time for my Mom to pick him up.....when we arrived at the fire station all the guys had their sleeves rolled up and were upset, tools were everywhere. My Dad said they tried to get one of the fire trucks fixed all afternoon but no one could get it started. As everyone one talking I climbed into the truck, touched a bunch of levers and turned the key...it started right up! Scared me to death but all the firemen were hooting and hollering! True story, I never forgot starting the fire engine!
HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to my grandfather Captain Pasquale Parziale!