Today in History: The Collins Block Fire

Collins Block Fire, 1939

On February 3rd 1939, a fire broke out in the Collins Block on East Genesee Street between the State Tower and Courier Buildings. The flames had been brought under control when part of the building suddenly collapsed, trapping several firemen who were on the third floor of the building under the rubble. A total of nine firemen died as a result, making it the deadliest fire in Syracuse Fire Department history. Every year on the anniversary of the Collins Block Fire, a ceremony is held in Fayette Firefighters Memorial Park to honor all of the firemen killed in the line of duty while serving the citizens of Syracuse since 1841.

The AP wire reported the following:

“Police and fire department officials said the cause of the blaze which was discovered at 1:50 A.M., was uncertain. Scores of fire companies, called out by a general alarm, poured streams of water into the building for 45 minutes before the flames were brought under control. Collapse of the roof occurred at about 4 A.M. as firemen poked through the smoke-filled upper floors.”

You can view photos from the 2018 ceremony here.