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Corp Charles Edward Birkeli

  • Birth 13 Oct 1931 Red Wing, Goodhue County, Minnesota, USA
  • Death 24 Sep 1965 Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA
  • Burial Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA
  • Plot Section M , Site 2152
  • Memorial ID 12412218

Thank You Angel for sponsoring this memorial page. I really appreciate it. So kind of you to do this.

Charles Birkeli was the first Minneapolis firefighter killed in fire ground action in seventeen years at the time of his death. He joined the Minneapolis Fire Department in 1956. On September 24th 1965 Birkeli and the other firefighters from the crew were working a fire line (hose) into the third floor of the four story building. Fire burst out all around them. The guys behind him retreated while Birkeli headed forward toward a window. He was almost there when the entire annex crashed down around him; his body was not recovered until some twelve hours later after a wrecking crew removed tons of rubble.

Birkeli's first brush with fame was in 1956 when he and other firefighters were called to a fire in a Minneapolis hospital. Eight patients were killed and the Minneapolis Fire Department made a number of spectacular rescues which kept the death toll down. Birkeli rescued two newborns from the nursery as seen in the posted photo here.

Birkeli was only 33 years old. He enjoyed playing softball and volleyball. He was on the softball team of the Minneapolis Fire Department and was the manager of the team in 1964. He also loved to play practical jokes on his fellow firefighters.

The Minneapolis Fire Department and the community lost a good friend. He was well liked and a friend to all in the fire service. He was married and had three small children. His widow Dolores Birkeli passed away early this year (2005.) Birkeli was a Corporal in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953 and was stationed in Korea.

Bio by: Steve Edquist ~In Memory Of Aaron & Scrappy~


Family Members


  • Created by: Steve Edquist ~In Memory Of Aaron & Scrappy~
  • Added: 19 Nov 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12412218
  • Carolina Angel
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Corp Charles Edward Birkeli (13 Oct 1931–24 Sep 1965), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12412218, citing Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Steve Edquist ~In Memory Of Aaron & Scrappy~ (contributor 46550986) .