Line of Duty Death #1 – Alexander M.B. Davis.

Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #01
Alexander M.B. Davis, Assistant Chief (Tod Volunteer Fire Company)

Date of Death: March 30, 1888
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio

Not many details are known about the passing of Assistant Chief Alexander Davis of the Tod Volunteer Fire Company. A small blurb in the 1910 History of the Youngstown Fire Department Book read as follows

The only member of the volunteers who met death in the performance of duty was Alex. Davis, who is responding to an alarm, and in attempting to mount the hook and ladder truck while on its way to a fire, was thrown under the wheels at the corner of Federal and Hazel streets and received injuries that caused his death later at the hospital (p.30).

Attempts to locate any type of obituary have thus far been unsuccessful because of a lack of archived newspapers for that time period.  An article in the Youngstown Vindicator on December 19, 1909 provided some additional information on the passing of Alex Davis. The article talks about the “old fire bell” which at the time of writing was located in the tower of the central fire station. Over 30 years ago, the bell was placed in the tower of Youngstown’s only fire station and not only summoned firefighters to the station when necessary, it also rang in many important occasions. One section of the article reads as follows…

One of the saddest occasions on which the fire bell was sounded was when Alexander Davis, assistant chief of the old volunteers, was buried several years ago. Davis has been injured three years previous to his death by falling under the truck at Hazel and Federal Streets. He was a volunteer and worked in an establishment on West Federal Street. One day the fire bell sounded and he ran to Federal and Hazel to catch the truck. In trying to jump onto the wagon he fell and was crushed under its wheels. He was practically an invalid afterwards. The bell which had called him out on the occasion of his injuries was sounded as his funeral was held and as he was lowered into his grave.

Several members of the Dawson Fire Company of Warren, Ohio attended the funeral.

Line of Duty Deaths #2 & 3 – Michael J. McDonough, Firefighter and J. Smith Cowden, Firefighter

Michael McDonough gravesite (left) and J. Smith Cowden's gravesite (right). Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #02
Michael J. McDonough, Firefighter
Date of Death: November 2, 1901
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio

Michael J. McDonough joined the fire department on April 11, 1901. McDonough was a member of the fire department for only 7 months when he responded to a fire at Stambaugh’s stable on Belmont Ave. The date was November 1, 1901. It was 6:00am when the call came in. Fireman McDonough, Cowden and Smedley were operating a hose line on the structure when, without warning, the wall gave way and buried them. A short time later upon hearing of the accident, several of their colleagues began working as hard as they could to free the trapped firefighters. McDonough had sustained burns over much of his body. He passed away the next day at the city hospital.

 

YFD Line of Duty Death #03
J. Smith Cowden, Firefighter
Date of Death: March 22, 1902
Burial Location: Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio

J. Smith Cowden was appointed to the fire department on July 8, 1901. He was assigned to Station 1. He had only been a fireman for 9 months when he responded to a fire at Stambaugh’s stable on Belmont Ave. The date was November 1, 1901. It was 6:00am when the call came in. Fireman Cowden was operating a hose line on the structure when, without warning, the wall gave way and buried himself and two other firemen. He would pass away 20 weeks after the accident at the city hospital never having been well enough to leave.

Line of Duty Death #4 – Albert M. Probst, Captain

ALbert Probst gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #04
Albert M. Probst, Captain

Date of Death: June 23, 1904
Burial Location: Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio

Albert Probst became a member of the fire department on May 4, 1882. He was assigned to Station 1 as a driver and on December 15, 1896, Station 6 in Haselton was opened and Probst was promoted to the Captain in charge. At that time, the Captain was known as the Fire Marshall. At 5:30pm on the day of June 23, 1904, members of the Central Station responded to a large amount of smoke emanating from the Youngstown Consolidated Gas and Electric Companies offices at the corner of Boardman and Champion Streets. The fire started in the walls. The smoke was extremely thick and it took the firefighters several hours to finally find evidence of the fire. Smoke was said to be coming out from between the bricks. As the night progressed and the fire was beginning to get under control, Captain Probst decided to take one final check of the building for fire. The power was cut earlier and the building was dark. Capt. Probst entered the building unaware that the fire had burned a hole in the floor. He was later found in the basement having suffered a broken neck in the fall.

Line of Duty Deaths #5 & 6 – Thomas C. Reilly, Assistant Chief and Charles ‘Charley’ Vaughan, Captain

Thomas Reilly gravesite (left) and Charles Vaughan gravesite (right). Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #05
Thomas C. Reilly, Assistant Chief

Date of Death: October 1, 1908
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Thomas C. Reilly was a member of the Youngstown Fire Department for 17 years. He was appointed in May of 1891 when the department was reorganized from a volunteer department to the current paid department. He was assigned to Station 2 at Oak Street. In 1901 he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief and then was given the rank of first assistant chief. At 6:05pm on the night of Thursday, October 1, 1908, smoke was seen coming from the basement out of the radiators at the Knox 5 and 10 cent store at 108 to 112 West Federal Street. The men from the central station were sent to investigate. Shortly after their arrival, a general alarm was struck sending all of the fire units in the city to the scene. By 9:30pm, the fire had spread through all four stories. Assistant Chief Reilly was on the roof along with Captain Charles Vaughan and seven other firefighters when the roof caved in sending them plummeting 4 stories into the basement of the building. Six of the eight firefighters recovered and did not sustained any fatal injuries. Neither Assistant Chief Reilly nor Captain Vaughan survived the fall.

 

YFD Line of Duty Death #06
Charles ‘Charley’ Vaughan, Captain

Date of Death: October 2, 1908
Burial Location: Belmont Park Cemetery, Liberty, OH.

Charles Vaughan was a member of the Youngstown Fire Department for 24 years. He was appointed July 1, 1884 when the department was still volunteer. He was assigned to the Central Fire Station and served there for 4 years. In 1888, he was promoted to the rank of Captain and placed in charge of the newly opened Station 2 on Oak and Fruit St. After 8 years at Station 2, he was transferred to back to the Central Station. Next Vaughan was placed in charge of Station 3 which was being built. Vaughan was also placed in charge of Station 7 for six months. Finally, following the death of Albert Probst in June of 1904, Capt. Vaughan was placed in charge of Station 6 at Haselton. At 6:05pm on the night of October 2, 1908, smoke was seen coming from the basement out of the radiators at the Knox 5 and 10 cent store at 108 to 112 West Federal Street. The men from the central station were sent to investigate. Shortly after their arrival, a general alarm was struck sending all the units in the city to the scene. By 9:30pm, the fire had spread through all four stories. Captain Charles Vaughan was on the roof with several other firefighter when the roof caved in sending them plummeting 4 stories into the basement of the building. Six of the eight firefighters were recovered and did not sustained any fatal injuries. Captain Vaughan and Assistant Chief Reilly, however, did sustain fatal injuries in the fall.

Close up of Charles Vaughan's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

Line of Duty Death #7 – Michael J. Coughlin, Firefighter

Michael Coughlin's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #07
#07 – Michael J. Coughlin, Firefighter

Date of Death: July 30, 1919
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Michael J. Coughlin had been a member of the city fire department for 18 years. He was appointed on July 12, 1901 and served at the central station downtown before transferring to Station number 2 at Oak and Fruit. At 4:40pm on the afternoon of July 30, 1919, a false alarm was sent from box 42 at Wilson and Shehy. Coughlin responded from Station Number 2 on the fire department’s new Seagrave triple combination pumping, chemical, and hose truck. The apparatus was heading south on Hine Street approaching Himrod Ave. Meanwhile, a streetcar was approaching Hine Street from Himrod. Normally the streetcar would make a safety stop at the bottom of the hill at the intersection of Himrod and Hine but failed to do so. The streetcar was going too fast down Himrod and by the time the streetcar driver attempted to stop the car, it was too late. The streetcar skidded into the intersection just as the fire truck arrived and crashed into the rear section of the truck. The impact threw Coughlin off the truck, onto the pavement and directly into the path of the oncoming streetcar. He was run over by the streetcar which had left the rail and skidded 60 feet on the pavement before hitting the curb.

Line of Duty Death #8 – John Raymond Webb, Firefighter

No Photo Available.

YFD Line of Duty Death #08
John Raymond Webb, Firefighter

Date of Death: August 28, 1919
Burial Location: Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

John Raymond Webb had only been a firefighter for just under a year. He worked out of the central station downtown. He was appointed to the department November 25, 1918. On the night of August 25, 1919 at 11:40pm, Webb was responding on the combination hose and chemical engine to an awning fire at a business at 109 South Watt St. The fire truck, driven by William Griffith, was coming east down Front Street approaching Market Street. Meanwhile, a streetcar was coming northbound on Market Street. Both vehicles met at the intersection of Front and Market and there was little either could do to avoid colliding. The driver of the fire truck attempted to swerve the truck to keep from hitting the streetcar but it was of little use. Fireman Webb was standing at the point of the collision and was crushed against the chemical tank and the emergency brake of the apparatus. None of the other firemen on the truck were injured.

Line of Duty Death #9 – Martin ‘Marty’ Welsh, Captain

No Photo Available.

YFD Line of Duty Death #09
Martin ‘Marty’ Welsh, Captain

Date of Death: January 25, 1928
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Martin Welsh was appointed to the city fire department on November 14, 1901. He was promoted to Lieutenant on July 22, 1907 and then to Captain on April 7, 1913. He worked at Station Number 1 for 24 years. At 4:10am on the morning of January 25, 1928, flames were discovered in a one story frame warehouse used by the Lee Tire Service Co. behind 448-450 W. Federal Street. The fire spread through the 60 cars stored in the warehouse. The fire then spread to the warehouse of Tamarkin Wholesale Grocery behind 460-462 W. Federal Street. Several firemen, including Welsh, were operating hose lines inside the structure when the roof and south wall caved in. Two other firemen escaped with only cuts and bruises.

Line of Duty Death #10 – Thomas ‘Tommy’ Lyster, Captain

Capt Thomas S. Lyster gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #10
Thomas ‘Tommy’ Lyster, Captain

Date of Death: November 25, 1940
Burial Location: Lake Park Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Thomas S. Lyster was appointed to the Youngstown Fire Department in 1910. He served at Station Number 1 for a few years before transferring to Station Number 6 at Wilson and Jackson. He was promoted to Captain in 1925. He was found on the morning of November 25, 1940 on the bathroom floor of the firehouse. The cause of death was a heart attack.

Line of Duty Deaths #11 & 12 – Harold Hank Lewis, Firefighter and William Jackson, Firefighter

Harold Lewis (left) and William Jackson's (right) gravesites. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #11
Harold ‘Hank’ Lewis, Firefighter

Date of Death: December 25, 1945
Burial Location: Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

 

Harold “Hank” Lewis would have been a city fireman for 20 years in January of 1946. He joined the fire department in January of 1926. He had been stationed at Number 4 for about 10 years. At 7:30am Christmas morning, a false alarm came in from a pull box at Parmelee and Foster St. The squad truck was sent from Station Number 4. The truck had successfully rounded the corner of Oak Hill near South Side Hospital when the truck hit a patch of ice and began to skid. The apparatus struck two utility poles at the southwest and northwest corners of High St. The fire hose in the bed came loose and uncoiled snapping the two men who were riding on the back of the truck. Firefighter Lewis was thrown headfirst into the one of the utility poles and died instantly.

Firefighter Jackson was able to hold on until the truck collided with the second utility pole. Jackson was then thrown away from the apparatus and was knocked against a wall of a grocery store on the corner of High St. and landed on the fire hose. Lewis was taken to South Side Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was the first fatality from this false alarm.

 

YFD Line of Duty Death #12
William Jackson, Firefighter

Date of Death: December 26, 1945
Burial Location: Lake Park Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

 

William E. Jackson joined the fire department on December 16, 1927 serving on the department’s squad truck. At 7:30am on Christmas morning, a false alarm came in from a pull box at Parmelee and Foster St. The squad truck was sent from Station Number 4. The truck had successfully rounded the corner of Oak Hill near South Side Hospital when the truck hit a patch of ice and began to skid. The apparatus struck two utility poles at the southwest and northwest corners of High St. The fire hose in the bed came loose and uncoiled snapping the two men who were riding on the back of the truck. Firefighter Lewis was thrown headfirst into the one of the utility poles and died instantly.

Firefighter Jackson was able to hold on until the truck collided with the second utility pole. Jackson was then thrown away from the apparatus and was knocked against a wall of a grocery store on the corner of High St. and landed on the fire hose. He died the next day at South Side Hospital of shock and a fractured skull. He was the second fatality from this false alarm.

International Fire Fighter article February 1946.

Line of Duty Death #13 – Charles E. Prosser, Captain

Charles Prosser gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #13
Charles E.Prosser, Captain

Date of Death: February 4, 1960
Burial Location: Palmyera Cemetery, Palmyera, OH.

Charles E. Prosser had been a city firefighter for 20 years. He was appointed as a cadet firefighter on September 23, 1939. He worked up the ranks to Captain at Station Number 2 on Oak and Fruit. On February 4, 1960, firemen were burning down a house on Orange Ave. Captain Prosser had just finished helping pull hose when he straightened up and complained of chest pains. He was rushed to South Side Hospital where he died in the emergency room.

Line of Duty Death #14 – William A. Lightbody, Captain

William Lightbody's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #14
William A. Lightbody, Captain

Date of Death: August 6, 1964
Burial Location: Lake Park Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

William A. Lightbody joined the fire department September of 1939. He was promoted to fireman, first class in 1940. He then went on and became an Engineer in 1947 and made Captain October 16, 1950. He worked at Station Number 3 on Belmont at Emerson Place until 1956 when he transferred to the newly opened Station Number 1 downtown. On August 3rd, 1964, Lightbody was directing operations at a house fire at 516 Hayman St. when he suffered a heart attack. He was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and passed away on August 6th.

Line of Duty Death #15 – Fred J. Valenzisi, Engineer

Fred J Valenzizi's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #15
Fred J.Valenzisi, Engineer

Date of Death: January 17, 1966
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Fred J. Valenzisi was a city firefighter for 22 years. He was appointed to the department on November 22, 1944. He worked his way up to the rank of Engineer. Valenzisi was manning the truck at a 2nd alarm fire at the Al Wagner Motor Sales Inc. building on Market St. on January 17, 1966, when he collapsed by the apparatus. He was taken to South Side Hospital.

Line of Duty Death #16 – John Barry Lloyd, Firefighter

John Barry Lloyd's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #16
John Barry Lloyd, Firefighter

Date of Death: February 17, 1976
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

John Barry Lloyd was a city firefighter for 28 years. He was appointed to the department in 1948. He served 15 years at Station 14. Lloyd was hospitalized for three days at South Side Hospital. Cause of death was a heart attack.

Line of Duty Death #17 – Joseph ‘Conzy’ Lucci, Captain

No Photo Available.

YFD Line of Duty Death #17
Joseph ‘Conzy’ Lucci, Captain

Date of Death: September 30, 1977
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Joseph ‘Conzi’ Lucci was a Youngstown firefighter for 25 years. He had returned to the firehouse after fighting a house fire and while there, he suffered a heart attack. He was taken to South Side Hospital.

Line of Duty Death #18 – Michael L. Dolak, Assistant Chief

Michael Dolak's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #18
Michael L. Dolak, Assistant Chief

Date of Death: January 8, 1979
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

Michael L. Dolak was appointed to the department on November 22, 1944. He was promoted to engineer in January 1952. He made Captain in 1955, Battalion Chief on September 16, 1967, and Assistant Chief in November 1972. Dolak was fighting a fire in a two story frame house at 230 Carlton at 2:30pm on Monday, January 8, 1979. He was in a second floor stairway when he uttered a sound and collapsed. He was removed from the structure and given CPR by firemen Pat Casey and Fred Sikora until the department ambulance arrived. He died around an hour after arriving at Saint Elizabeth Hospital.

Line of Duty Death #19 – John W. Walsh, Engineer

John Walsh's gravesite. Photos by Greg Ricker, youngstownfire.com webmaster.

YFD Line of Duty Death #19
John W. Walsh, Engineer

DOD: March 5, 1984
Burial Location: Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown, OH.

John W. Walsh was appointed to the fire department January 2, 1968. He was promoted to engineer November 14, 1981. He became ill while fighting a two alarm blaze at the Mansion Restaurant on Market Street on March 5, 1984. Welsh returned home after his shift at 8:00am. While home, he became ill again and was taken to St. Elizabeth’s hospital where he died from a heart attack.

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