|Birth: ||Mar. 31, 1895|
|Death: ||Sep. 20, 1943|
THREE DENVER FIREMEN KILLED BATTLING RAIL TUNNEL BLAZE
Meet Death in Bore on Moffat Road, Probably from Suffocation; Body of Only One is Recovered
THE DENVER POST
Tuesday, September 21, 1943
Three Denver city firemen died Monday night fighting a fire in the timbered walls of a 1600 foot Denver and Salt Lake railroad tunnel, twenty-seven miles northwest of Denver.
The dead, according to Fire Chief Healy, are Douglas Vernon Parrish, 49, of 340 Clarkson street, machinist in the fire department shops; James Williams, 37, of 1209 East Colfax avenue, Chief Healy's driver, and John Kennedy, 34, of 665 Lafayette street. All were married and two were fathers.
Parrish's body was recovered just inside the east portal of the tunnel, but fire department officials said it is unlikely any trace ever will be found of the other two men.
TUNNEL STILL ROARING FURNACE.
At noon Tuesday the tunnel was still a roaring furnace, filled with poisonous flumes. A pumper truck the Denver men had accompanied to the scene was pouring a stream of water in the east end, and a locomotive was doing the same at the west end. Men still could not approach the entrances.
Fire Capt. William R. Parry in command of the Denver men and pumper, was saved only by accident, because his gas mask was working improperly and he left the tunnel to get another. The pumper, one of Denver's newest, was loaded on a flatcar and taken to the scene with its crew in response to a call for help about 6:30 p.m. There is no road highway near the tunnel. When the report of the disaster was received, Chief Healy sent rescue squad No. 4, under Capt. Wilfred Lindsay, to the scene. The squad truck left the city at 1:25 a.m. These firemen worked over Parrish about two hours without success.
Fred W. Warner, superintendent of equipment for the fire department, who was sent to the tunnel Tuesday morning, returned at noon to report to Chief Healy.
"Parry went with Williams and Kennedy about 600 to 700 feet into the tunnel to fight the fire," Warner said. "They had their gas masks on; Parry's wasn't working right, so he came out." That's all that saved his life! Apparently a short time after he left his companions, carbon monoxide gas formed, possibly from creosote on the burning ties and timbers.
A stiff wind had been blowing from the east into the tunnel mouth. It suddenly veered, creating the hazard most feared by firemen—a back draft.
The gas and back draft combined to make a death trap for Kennedy and Williams. Their masks were ineffective against monoxide, but even if they became conscious of the gas and tried to flee, they possibly were trapped by falling timber.
Parrish working at the pumper, became alarmed when the men had not returned in ten minutes, Warner stated. Seizing a gas mask, he entered the tunnel.
ROAD MASTER FINDS BODY.
A. L. Johnson, general superintendent of the D. & S.L., said G. E. Hamilton, the roadmaster, then took a mask and went in search of Parrish. He stumbled over Parrish's body about 100 feet inside. Hamilton was losing consciousness trying to drag out Parrish, when he was rescued by other railroad men.
Douglas Vernon Parrish gave his life to try and save his fellow Firefighters!
Adalene R. Welton Lillybeck (1902 - 1969)*
Douglas Vernon Parrish (1922 - 1926)*
Plot: Section S 1/2, Lot 155, Block 46.
GPS (lat/lon): 39.7092, -104.89672
Created by: Doyle Brewer
Record added: Feb 14, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33832454
Douglas Vernon Parrish, Sr., Assistant Master Mechanic, Denver Fire Department, killed in the line of duty.|
Added: May. 1, 2014
A Denver Fireman
Added: Oct. 27, 2013