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William Hunt - July 4, 1891 (#27)
Truck Co. No. 5 – 1819 Post Street


Box 176 – N.W. corner Post and Octavia
9:38 P.M.

Third Alarm
(In 1891 a Third Alarm was a General Alarm of Fire calling the entire Department)
The church and 23 dwellings on Bush Street, between Octavia and Gough Streets were lost. Loss, $ 104,380.

Wm. Hunt, Truckman in Truck 5, fell from ladder at a fire and received injuries resulting in his death while in the discharge of his duty.



The first to respond to the alarm was Truck 5 and its crew, who instantly made preparations to raise their ladders against the houses on the eastern side of the church, so as to command the building in which the fire originated. The great extension ladder was hardly erect before five of the company began to take positions on it so as to pass up the hose. In the lead was William Hunt, an extraman, and one of the bravest in the crew. He was followed by extraman Murphy, known among his fellows as the "Judge," Dave Harris, Robert Jones and another whose name could not tie learned. When the full 65 feet of the extension was straightened out Hunt was on top and the others scattered along its length at equal distances. One movement more and the ladder tipped over to the wall, but before it could gain support from the building one of its middle sections cracked, fell inward and threw the upper sections out upon the sidewalk. Hunt and Murphy struck flat upon the sidewalk, and the other men, thrown off by the shock and the falling debris, landed in a pile on top of them.


The three latter were so slightly hurt that they picked themselves up, and with the assistance of Frank H. Maas and John Schroeder, who witnessed the accident, went to the succor of their less fortunate companions. Hunt and Murphy, both insensible, were at once carried to the residence of John E. Boggles, of the firm of Bodge, Sweeny & Co., 1041 Bush street. The library and parlor were placed at the disposal of the injured, but shortly afterward Murphy, regaining consciousness, was carried home to Post and Fillmore streets by the patrol wagon. He suffered the loss of a finger and received a bad wound over the right eye. Medical aid for Hunt was solicited in the neighborhood, and according to the truckmen, inhumanly refused. Dr. Williams and his assistant were then telegraphed for to the Receiving Hospital. On arriving lie made a superficial examination of the man, and announced that he was beyond medical aid, the skull being so badly fractured that brain matter oozed through the left ear. Father Montgomery of St. Mary's Cathedral, who had been called in meanwhile, then came upon the scene and administered absolution and the sacrament of extreme unction— all that could be done under the circumstances, as Hunt never regained consciousness.


Messengers were then sent to the wife, mother and sister and the efforts of the doctors were directed to relieving as much as possible the sufferings of the injured man and removing the traces of his injuries so as not to shock the women folk. The wife arrived first and at first could scarce contain her sorrow, but the assurances of those around her that "Bill is all right," raised a false hope, which sustained her for a while. Then the old mother came tottering in, terror stricken, and many pardonable fibs were told her of her boy's condition, which she, though doubting, was only too willing to believe out of her mother's love. The doctors left the sad scene at 11 o'clock announcing to the men folk that Hunt could not last much longer. At 11:30 he was still breathing irregularly, but his strength was perceptibly falling, while the anxiety and grief of his family were painful to witness.


Hunt was foreman in the printing office of J. K. Brodie & Co. and resided with his wife and two young children on the corner of Ellis and Webster streets. He was 26 years old and had a splendid reputation for steadiness, ability and bravery. His only other relatives are his mother and one sister. Michael Dougherty, an extraman of No. 8 Hose, had his right middle finger cut by some broken glass and had the injury dressed at the Receiving Hospital.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 70, Number 35, 5 July 1891 — LICKED UP BY FIERY TONGUES. [ARTICLE]


1891 July 8

William Hunt the extraman who was so seriously injured at the Centenary M. E. Church fire on Saturday evening by the creaking of the extension ladder, succumbed to his terrible injuries yesterday. He was a foreman printer in the employ of J. K. Brodie & Co. lie leaves a widow and two young children to mourn his loss. His mother and one sister also survive
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 70, Number 38, 8 July 1891 — OBITUABY. [ARTICLE]


1891 July 9

Police Surgeon Williams yesterday held an autopsy on the remains of Fireman Hunt, who died from injuries received at the Bush street fire Fourth of July night. The skull on the left side had been crushed into small bits, and a broad fracture extended entirely around the head.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 70, Number 39, 9 July 1891 — Result of the Autopsy. [ARTICLE]


1891 July 10

The funeral of William J. Hunt, the Young fireman who met his death while discharging his duty at the lire of the Centenary Church on the night of July 4tfi, took place from his late residence at 1315 Eddy street yesterday morning. The remains were viewed by several hundred people. Many beautiful floral pieces were sent to the funeral by friends of the deceased and the different organizations to which he belonged, among them being Truck 5, Brodie & Co., printers. Young Men's Institulo No. 7, Engine 14 and Hose Company 2, The Mineral services took place from Holy Cross Church at Scott and Eddy streets alter which the remain* were conveyed to Lone Mountain Cemetery for Interment. The Young Men's Institute had To members in line and the Fire Department about 100 as a funeral procession. The following were the pall-bearers: Young Men's Institute, Humphrey \V. Lynch and John K. Owens; from the Pressmen, L. M. Crary and Edward Qnenley; from the Fire Department, frank I. Carney, William K. Otto, John Gallakber and Thomas McEnroe.
Source: San Francisco Call, Volume 70, Number 40, 10 July 1891 — BURIED WITH HONORS. [ARTICLE]

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

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