|Death: ||Feb. 23, 1891|
Fell from Hose Tower and was fatally Injured
The first fatality of the fire department since Chief Aitchison took command occurred Monday afternoon in the yard at the Central station. Fireman Jerry Thomas, engineer of no. 1 chemical, fell from the hose tower and was so badly injured internally that he died an hour afterwards. The sad affair has plunged the usually jolly firemen in profound sorrow and the flag flies at half mast over the Central station. Thomas leaves a widow and three children.
The Accident occurred this way: Foreman W. James with a squad of men was engaged in removing some hose which had been used at fires last week and was drying in the tower. Fireman R. Berryman went up to the top inside and was standing on the gallery. Jerry Thomas was an exceedingly agile young fellow, fond of climbing and acrobatic exercises. Instead of going up the stairs of the tower he usually took hold of the rope used in hauling up the hose, and let the other fireman haul him up to the top, when he swung onto the gallery. He took hold of the rope as usual yesterday, and the men pulled him up to near the top. Berryman was just reaching down to catch hold of him when Thomas seemed to lose his grip and, exclaiming, "My God, I'm gone," he fell towards the bottom. He still retained a grip of the rope with his legs and did not fall directly to the floor, but went down "with a run," as sailors say. The men below heard him coming and Firemen James, Glover and Cole prepared to catch him, but, when he was about twenty feet from the floor, Thomas lost his grip he held on the rope with his legs and fell over towards the wall out of their reach. He struck on his side, and his left elbow and wrist were dislocated, but no bones broken. The Chief was sent for, and the firemen gathered round their comrade, while Doctors Griffin, Cockburn and Reid were sent for. The injured man was quite conscious but suffering terribly, and Chief Aitchison saw at a glance that though the plucky fellow was quiet he was in a bad way. It was proposed to remove him to his home, but he said: "Good-Bye boys. It's all up to me. You might as well let me die here." He was moved to his home after the doctors examined him, and there, surrounded by his heartbroken wife and family and a few comrades, he died peaceably an hour later holding the hand of his chief.
Chief Aitchison was very much grieved by the awful affair, for Thomas was one of the most reliable men in the department. "It is the first fatality that has occurred since I took hold of the department" said the chief last evening. "We have never even had a man permanently injured though the boys are daring enough at fires, and take too many chances occasionally.
Thomas joined the department in 1885. He was a plucky active young fellow, who always did his duty. The deceased was thirty seven years of age. He fell about fifty feet.
Thomas was the only member of chemical company no. 1, organized three years ago in the King William street station remaining in the company.
The funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon at two o'clock. The deceased was a member of the Hyde Park Lodge, Knights of Pythias Scranton PA., and though not a member of the Canadian order, the local Knights have taken charge of the funeral.
Created by: Tom Whitehurst
Record added: Aug 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56716975