Incident Date: January 15, 1895
Department: Butte Fire Department (MT)
Number of Line-of-Duty Deaths: 13
Thirteen Butte firefighters, three fire horses, one police officer, eight children, and dozens of citizens died in a in a series of explosions in Butte, Montana, on January 15, 1895. An unattended stove was thought to have started the fire which ultimately caused the explosions that destroyed four warehouses and a freight depot. What was thought to be an entire boxcar full of dynamite (20 tons) was being stored in the warehouse.
All but three firefighters were killed. Firefighter Dave McGee, who was at the hydrant during the initial explosion, survived after being pinned between two fire horses during the initial blast. Firefighter Jack Flannery and Fred Dugdale also survived the explosions. Jim, the fire horse, also survived the incident and went on to train new horses for the department until the adoption of motorized apparatus.
The fallen firefighters received full military honors during the town-wide funeral that brought over 25,000, and firefighters came from all over the State of Montana.
Killed in the Explosion
- Butte Historical Memorials: Episode 1 | Episode 2
- Memorial to honor heroes of Warehouse Explosion of 1895
- The City and County of Butte-Silver Bow: Brief History of the Great Disaster of 1895
- Western Mining History: The Butte, Montana Explosion of 1895
- Montana PSB: Hidden Fire: The Great Butte Explosion
- Butte-Silver Bow Pulic Archives: The Forgotten Story of the 1895 Butte Explosion
- Firerescue1.com: Warehouse explosion that killed 13 firefighters remembered 125 years later
More About Memorial Monday
Memorial Monday is established to remember the sacrifice of firefighters who died in the line of duty before the National Memorial was created in 1981. On the last Monday of every month, a firefighter, or groups of firefighters, will be remembered through information located about the firefighter and their sacrifice.
- Memorial Monday – Merrimac Street Fire
- Memorial Monday – Butte Warehouse Explosion
- Memorial Monday – Louisville Recreation Center Fire
- Memorial Monday – Wichita Commercial Roof Collapse
- Memorial Monday – Sitka Brush Fire/Explosion
- Memorial Monday – Duluth Street Car Crash
- Memorial Monday – Blackwater Fire
- Memorial Monday – Auburn Apparatus Collision
- Memorial Monday – Swanson Office Building Fire
- Memorial Monday – Jass Manufacturing Company Fire
- Memorial Monday – St. Louis Streetcar Collision
- Memorial Monday – Strand Theatre Fire
- Memorial Monday – Tru-Fit Clothing Company Fire
- Memorial Monday – Hubbard Street Fire