Project Roll Call

Sam Haskins

  • Firefighter
  • Los Angeles Fire Department
  • California
  • Year of Death: 1895

Sam Haskins was an enslaved person born in February 1846 in Virginia. Haskins moved to Los Angeles in 1880 and became a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) as a “call fireman.” Haskins is considered the first Black firefighter with the LAFD and the first LAFD firefighter to die in the line of duty while on an incident. This is the description of the incident according to the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archives (

“On November 19, 1895 an alarm came into Engine 2 located at 2127 East First Street. The Engine Company responded, the hose wagon leading the way, the steam engine following. Sam Haskins climbed on the rear tailboard of the engine alongside of the engineer. Hitting rough pavement on North Main Street, Haskins lost his balance and fell forward into the large wheel on the left side of the boiler. He was fatally crushed and died a short time later at the engine house.” Haskins was buried in an unmarked grave at Evergreen Cemetery where his legacy was forgotten for more than a hundred years.

The life and death of Haskins was uncovered after much research from LAFD Captains Larry Schneider and Jim Finn, the late LAFD Firefighter Arnett Hartsfield, and Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department Deputy Joe Walker. On February 25, 2004, a headstone was installed on Haskins’ grave and a memorial service took place at Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles.

This firefighter line of duty fatality occurred before the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in Emmitsburg, Maryland. While this firefighter has not been officially honored at the Memorial site, there are plans to do so when resources are available.

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Memorial Wall

  1. There are no memory wall messages for this firefighter.