We would like to acknowledge the following individuals, without whom this project would not have been possible:
Bill Schumm, also known as “The Fire Geezer”, who helped put me in touch with his fellow blogger, Larry Shapiro. Bill and associated co-horts operate the always insightful blog at FireGeezer.com.
Larry Shapiro is actually based in Illinois, and has a big hand in operating the premier fire service blog for the Chicagoland area. They always feature amazing photos and updates of recent incidents. Make sure to bookmark ChicagoAreaFire.com/blog. Larry was able to put me in touch with Dan McInerney.
I sent Dan my original list of about 280 significant incidents that had occurred in Chicago since the mid-1800s. I thought for sure I was close to listing all of the major fires and similar incidents. After the project started, I decided we might as well try and track down all of the 5-11 alarm fires and get them on a map too.
Dan took my original list and was able to add nearly six hundred major fires! He helped verify dates and details along with box alarm numbers and times. This project is the result of the reconciliation of our two lists. I am forever grateful for his time and efforts and his sharing of this information.
I would be remiss not to mention two other fire buffs that now reside in North Carolina but have a connection with Chicago.
First is Mike Meehan, who now lives in western North Carolina. Mike was the Disaster Services Supervisor for the Chicago Region of the American Red Cross from 1974 until December 1980. Thanks Mike for sharing greats stories of your days as a Fan in the Windy City.
Second is Bob Bartosz, who now lives in eastern North Carolina. Bob is truely a fire service legend, having served as the Fire Photographer for Camden, New Jersey for numerous years. Bob has also published two very sought after books showcasing his work in southern New Jersey and Philadelphia during times of enormous fire activity. We are fortunate to have his talents in North Carolina now.
Bob shared a very neat artifact from his days in New Jersey helping organize their annual photo nights. The ticket from the April 22, 1995 event featured on the reverse side the Box Alarm Card for Box 25539, the box for the Our Lady of the Angels school fire.