Hoseman William J. Welch and five members of the same fire company lost their lives during a fire at the George Bent Bedding Company, which occurred in the early morning hours of February 5, 1898, during a collapse of the interior floors.
Hoseman Welch was born on November 19, 1870. He was employed as a blacksmith before being appointed to the Department on June 20, 1894. He was assigned to Engine 43 (South Boston). On September 4, 1896 he was transferred to to the double-engine company Engine 38/39 (South Boston).
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.