|Death: ||Mar. 6, 1912|
On March 5, 1912, a large fire broke out in the Fort Worth Furniture Company plant. An alarm was sounded and a number of men rushed to the scene to assist in putting out the fire. Frank P. Keniff, a civil engineer who resided in the area, was one of the first men to reach the scene.
Keniff organized the other volunteers and got a bucket brigade into action. Several minutes later, the Fort Worth Fire Department arrived on the scene. Keniff led the men into the plant and assisted them in securing a fire door. A bucket brigade was formed inside the plant and was manned by Fort Worth Firefighters and volunteers. Frank Keniff was working inside the building alongside three Fort Worth Firefighters.
Suddenly, a wall collapsed and crashed through a roof directly above and onto Keniff, pinning him under a mound of burning debris. Efforts were made to rescue Keniff but they were unable to save him. Approximately 45 minutes after the wall collapsed, Keniff was pulled from the debris. He was transported to an area hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The cause of death was a broken back, severe burns, and numerous injuries relating to being crushed by the wall. Frank Keniff was buried at West Hill Cemetery in Sherman Texas, under the name of F.P. Keniff.
In examining this case for Fort Worth memorial inclusion, consideration was given to the status of Keniff at the scene. It is unknown if Frank Keniff was a "regular" volunteer fireman for the City of Fort Worth. It is known that Fort Worth used volunteer firemen well into the 1920s on the north side to assist the professional firemen with their duties. An account from the Dallas Morning News dated Jan. 23, 1918, credits Fort Worth volunteer firefighters with extinguishing 339 fires with buckets and garden hoses.
When Frank Keniff received the injuries that led to his death, he was working alongside three professional firefighters inside a burning building, trying to extinguish the flames. From the newspaper accounts, it is obvious that the other firemen considered Keniff's efforts to be legitimate and consistent with their efforts to extinguish the fire.
Based on these facts, it is my opinion that Frank Keniff qualifies as a volunteer fireman and as a historic fireman by memorial standards and is eligible for inclusion on the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial.
West Hill Cemetery
Created by: Tom Whitehurst
Record added: Aug 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56500645