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Memorial Monday

Memorial Monday — Remembering William E. Craighead

Memorial Monday

Memorial Monday — Remembering William E. Craighead

Incident Date:

February 21, 1940


Lynchburg Fire Department (VA)

Number of Line-of-Duty Deaths:


On the morning of February 21, 1940, the Lynchburg Fire Department was alerted to a call for a small fire in the D.A. Hines Paint Store.

Engine 3 was alerted to a call and Firefighter William E. Craighead, one of the most seasoned members of the department, was dressed and ready to go when the call came out at 6:55 am. He took his usual position on the long steel hose basket where the chemical hose was stored.

As the engine departed from the station and turned onto Church Street, Firefighter Craighead unexpectedly fell eight feet from the hose basket. Skidding across the pavement, he collided with the curb in front of a cab stand, resulting in a skull fracture. Unaware that he had fallen from the engine, his crew continued to respond to the call. Fortunately, taxi drivers at the nearby cab stand rushed to his aid, placing William in a taxi and transporting him to the hospital. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries later that evening at Lynchburg Hospital.

His tragic death marked Lynchburg’s first traffic fatality of 1940.

Engine 3

Photos from the Lynchburg Fire Museum

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 as we share information about these firefighters and their sacrifice.