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Memorial Monday

Memorial Monday — Remembering Firefighter Glen Thorpe

Memorial Monday

Memorial Monday — Remembering Firefighter Glen Thorpe

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Incident Date:

May 4, 1966

Department:

New London Fire Department (WI)

Number of Line-of-Duty Deaths:

1

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 4, 1966, four New London firefighters responded to a small fire at the Mark Young farm in the town of Maple Creek, Wisconsin.

The call was soon cancelled, and the firefighters were placed in service. As the engine was on its way back to the firehouse, they crossed the railroad tracks at the Sugar Bush crossing.

One of the firefighters, Glen Thorpe, yelled to the others that they were in the path of the oncoming train. Fearing that the train was going to hit the engine, Firefighter Thorpe—who was riding on the back step—unfastened his safety restraint. In his hurry to escape, he jumped from the engine, but the momentum from the leap and the moving apparatus pushed him into the path of the North Western Road train. The engine cleared the tracks before the train, but Firefighter Thorpe landed on his hands and knees and then rolled onto the tracks. When the train was able to stop, Glen was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, but died on the way there.

He was with the department for four years and was serving as the president at the time of the accident.

He was survived by his wife Ruth; parents Mr. and Mrs. Clemons Thorpe; his grandmother Mrs. Janie Thorpe; his daughters Susan and Lori; sons Robert, Paul, Peter, and John; brothers Earl and Larry; and sister Mrs. Gordan Conant.

Community Rallies Around the Thorpe Family

After Glen’s death, the Glen Thorpe Memorial Fund was established to support his wife and six children. In the month that followed, a citizen’s committee set up canisters in local businesses to collect donations. A few weeks later, a charity pumpkin softball game was played at Hatten Park between the Lions and the Jaycees. Ticket sales from the game also went to support Glen’s family.

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.