FIRE PERILS ST. IGNATIUS; TWO INJURED
ONE FIREMAN NEAR DEATH AFTER PLUNGE INTO BALCONY; DEFECTIVE WIRES ARE BLAMED
CHIEF BRENNAN DIRECTS BATTLE; PRIEST CALLED TO INJURED MAN
January 1, 1932
St. Ignatius Church at Fulton and Cole streets, one of San Francisco’s show places was threatened with destruction late last night when a fire of mysterious origin flared up in the height loft of the auditorium near the arched entrances. The blaze was brought under control after a short but stubborn fight by several fire companies. Two firemen were injured, one so severely he may die.
CEILING PANELS COLLAPSE
A huge panel of the vaulted ceiling collapsed with one and hurled the other from a towering extension ladder inside of the church.
Captain William Taylor, Chemical Company No. 5, injured back
Fireman Florence Scannell, fractured skull, both arms broken and lung punctured; not expected to live.
The blaze was discovered by Fred Fox, night watchman at the church. On his 11 o’clock round Fox noticed a dim flicker above the organ loft. He turned in an alarm. By the time firemen arrived the upper loft was in flames and a second alarm was immediately sounded. Chief Brennan hurried out personally to direct to save the church.
The great alar of the church – the ceiling of the auditorium is some eighty feet above the floor – and the mysterious source of the fire greatly handicapped the firemen.
Unable to get at the seat of the blaze from the outside, extension ladders were raised inside the church and several men swarmed into the blazing loft.
Fireman Scannell was dragging a hose across the vaulted ceiling when a large panel gave way under him. As he plunged downward he struck Captain Taylor on the top of the swaying ladder and hurled him also into space.
FALL INTO BALCONY
The two struck a balcony sixty feet below and were taken unconscious from the smoke filled edifice. An ambulance took them to Park Emergency Hospital. A priest was called at 1 o’clock this morning to administer last unctions to Scannell.
Early this morning Chief Brennan said the fire was virtually out, but firemen were still watching the smoldering loft to guard against a new outbreak of the flames.
DEFECTIVE WIRE BLAMED
The fire was probably caused by defective electric wiring, Chief Brennan said. /a through investigation will be made today.
St. Ignatius church was begun in 1912 on the site of the original church and was several years in the building. It is a towering structure of steel and concrete, occupying a ground space 155 by 255 feet. There are to balconies in the auditorium.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, January 1, 1932
BRENNAN BLOOD FOR FIREMAN
Hope for recovery of Fireman Florence Scannell was revived at San Francisco hospital today as he continued to resist the effects of injures received when he fell forty feet while fighting fire is St. Ignatius Church.
With one blood transfusion already made, plans were made to use the blood of Fire Chief Charles Brennan for Scannell. The chief was the only other man besides Hoseman Louis Lillas whom blood was deemed suitable for Scannell.
The injured fireman has a wife and four children living at 375 Fourth avenue. Captain William Taylor was recovering from lesser injuries received in the same fire, with was caused when paints stored within the church were ignited by spontaneous combustion.
FIREMAN DEAD OF FALL HURTS
January 2, 1932
Injuries suffered in the fall in the St. Ignatius Church fire proved fatal yesterday to Florence Scannell member of Truck Company 10, stationed at 351 Second avenue.
In spite of blood transfusions, the fireman could not survive fractures of the skull and both arms and piecing of his lungs on metal reinforcements in the plunge from the blazing roof into the choir loft Wednesday night.
The late fireman was member of the “Fighting 363d” and served in France. Born in Ireland, he joined the Fire Department on April 26, 1922. He was 38, had a wife and four children from 3 to 8 years old, and lived at 375 Fourth avenue.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, January 2, 1932
CITY TO HONOR DEAD FIEMEN
High officials of the city government and of the fire and police departments will join with rank and file of firemen and policemen tomorrow in paying tributes to Florence Scannell, fireman killed on duty.
Funeral services for Scannell will be held at Star of the Sea Church, Eight avenue and Geary street, at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.
The body will be met by cortege of hundreds of firemen and policemen, headed by the police band, at Third avenue and Geary street. Following the funeral service, the cortege will accompany the body to Fourteenth avenue and Geary street, where it will disband. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Scannell was fatally injured in collapse of the roof in the fire at St. Ignatius Church Wednesday.
Tomorrow night the board of fire commissioners, sitting for the last time under the old charter as a pension board of the firemen’s widow pension fund, will vote pensions for the widows of Scannell and James F. Edgar, another fire was buried Wednesday.
Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.
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