The four-alarm Quackenbush Warehouse Fire occurred in Paterson, NJ’s bustling downtown shopping district on March 11, 1938—and resulted in a fatal collapse that sent shock waves through the department and the city.
The Saturday afternoon drew throngs of onlookers. Well after the fire was brought under control, Deputy Chief William Sweeney and four members from Engine Company 5—Captain William Devenport and Firemen Louis Rodesky, William Lynch, and Matthew O’Neill—entered the gutted building to check on an unstable wall. The subsequent collapse killed all five men.
This two-part podcast is part of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation “After Action Review” series.
In Episode 1, Paterson (NJ) Fire Chief Brian McDermott discusses Paterson’s largest LODD event in history—the March 11, 1938 Quackenbush Warehouse Fire—and the importance of never forgetting the fallen and the lessons from their deaths.
In Episode 2, Chief McDermott provides listeners with an inside look at today’s Paterson Fire Department and the challenges it faced through difficult times, including the COVID pandemic.
You will want to catch both episodes to honor past sacrifices and hear about the innovative partnership Chief McDermott has forged to take care of the men and women of the PFD.