Plan to join us on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 10 AM for the 12th annual Firefighters’ Memorial Mass at St. John’s. During this Mass, we remember the 4 firefighters who were killed fighting the fire at St. John’s in 1899. Please take this opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and support of current firefighters who work to keep us safe every day.
Mayor Jim Kenney has confirmed his attendance. Let’s be sure to have a great turnout to warmly welcome him and our firefighters!
Immediately following the Mass, please stay for the reception in the Parish Center.
On the night of February 16, 1899, fire broke out and burned through the night, destroying many buildings in the area of 13th and Market Streets. St. John the Evangelist Church was spared but the Rectory was heavily damaged. As they fought the fire, Hugh Duffy, William Chance and George Steinle, all members of Engine 32, were killed when a burning wall fell and crushed them to death. Two weeks later, James Shea, from Chemical Engine Co. No. 1, died from pneumonia, which he contracted while fighting the fire. The fire re-ignited early on the morning of February 17, 1899 and destroyed much of the church, with the exception of the Blessed Virgin statue, which remained untouched.
William J. Chance, 32, a widower, was survived by his 9 year old son. He was a one year veteran of the Department.
Hugh Duffy, 44, was survived by his wife and four children. He was a 22 year veteran of the Department.
George W. Steinle, 38, was survived by his wife and daughter. He was a 12 year veteran of the Department.
James J. Shea, 41, was a 12 year veteran of the Department.