Guardians of The City SFFD Home Page - San Francisco Fire Department Museum
SFFD - Those Who Died in the Line of Duty:
Black Ribbon John J. Wilkinson Black Ribbon

J. Wilkinson - February 10, 1887 (#23)
Hose Co. No. 5 - 1421 Market Street


John J. Wilkinson, Hoseman of Hose Company No. 5, died at his post of duty at the fire at No. 619 Post street.

Wilkinson, with others of his Company, were in the building directing the stream of his Company. The building was deemed unsafe, and the men at work were ordered out, but before they could escape, the structure collapsed, crushing poor Wilkinson and severely injuring several members of Hose Company No. 5 and Engine Company No. 4.



1887 February 10

An alarm from Station 427 at 1:10 o'clock this .morning was caused by the discovery of a fire in a Chinese wash-house on the corner of Post and Williams street. The department promptly responded, but despite their best efforts the fire, which originated in the basement of the wash-house, had communicated to the basement of the adjoining house on the west, occupied as a residence by Emil Wessel and family. The wash-house burned like tinder, and at 2:20 suddenly collapsed, and toppled over into Williams street. Patrick Curran, foreman of 4 Engine, was in the building at the time, but was rescued after the fall, badly bruised about the head and body. It was reported that one or two other firemen were in the building when it fell, but at the hoar of going to press this rumor bad not been verified. The building occupied by Wessel is the property of a Mr. Martin, of Sixth street, and is badly damaged.

Later. — Since the above was put in type Firemen Dennis Sullivan, Michael Hinee, Steve Neall, O'Connor, Henry D. Rill and Edward Skelly have been rescued from the ruins, all more or less injured, and Riley and several others are still in the ruins.

Thomas O'Connell of Thirty-sixth street, Oakland, who went on the roof in search of his friend, Jimmy Stott, one of the firemen, was caught in the mass of the falling building and got his left wrist fractured, his head cut and it is feared sustained internal injuries.

At 3:15 a. m. the dead body of John Wilkinson, Hose Company No. 5, was dug out of the ruins and taken to the Morgue
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 42, Number 13667, 10 February 1887 — A DISASTROUS FIRE. [ARTICLE]



1887 February 11

The total loss to property caused by the fire at the corner of Williams and Post streets early yesterday morning, amounted to about $3,000. The injuries sustained by the firemen who fell with the roof of the burning shanty, are not as severe as was supposed at the hour of going to press yesterday. John Wilkinson, the unfortunate fireman who was found dead under a pile of debris, was a member of No. 5 Hose Company. He resided on Langdon street, between Folsom and Howard streets. He leaves a widow and nine children. The deceased was forty-two years of age, and was a cooper by trade. By his death his family is left in destitute circumstances. Chief Scannell reports that Wilkinson had been an efficient member of the Department for over ten years.

Patrick Curran, foreman of Engine Company No. 4, who received several contused wounds of the scalp, and a bruised back, has been very unfortunate since his connection with the Department, although he is one of its most efficient members. At the burning of the Crocker building on Bush street, Curran received a broken leg as a reward for his efforts to rescue his unfortunate comrades, whose bodies were the next day recovered. He had about recovered from his injury when his leg was again broken by the falling of the rear wall of the Bancroft building.
Source: Daily Alta California, Volume 42, Number 13668, 11 February 1887 — YESTERDAY MORNING'S FIRE. [ARTICLE]

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

SFFD Home Page Guardians of The City Home Page