Memorial Monday – Barson’s Deli Fire (PA)

Incident Date: May 16, 1976
Department: Philadelphia Fire Department (PA)
Number of Line-of-Duty Deaths: 4

Four Philadelphia firefighters lost their lives at a 4-alarm fire at Barson’s Deli on May 16, 1976. Just after noon, firefighters responded to the Barson’s Overbrook Delicatessen at 8354 Bustleton Avenue. Battalion Chief Harry Walsh requested the second alarm at 12:19 pm. As firefighters advanced hoselines into the smoke-charged building, they were about 30 feet inside the door when the floor collapsed beneath them. Firefighters Richard Iannacone, Ladder 34; Bernard McSloy, Ladder 28; and David Stewart and Aloysius Welsh of Ladder 20 slid down the terrazzo floor into the basement fire below. Other firefighters on the scene began the rescue efforts as a third and fourth alarm were struck. Firefighters Stewart and McSloy were located in the basement soon after the fourth alarm was struck. Rescue efforts were hampered by a secondary collapse, as one of the large conditioning units on the roof started to make the roof sag and ultimately fall into the basement. Commissioner Rizzo declared the fire under control around 2:20 pm. Firefighters Welsh and Iannacone were recovered later that evening after heavy cranes were brought in to move portions of the collapsed structure.

Firefighters Who Died at the Fire:




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.