“Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.” -- Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY, speaking upon the death of a deputy chief and four firefighters in February of 1908.
This week we are sharing the history of a tragic fire in San Rafael on May 21, 1950, when two firemen were killed. Fireman William "Sonny" Bottini, and Aubrey E. "Jack" Miller died that day at a large working fire in a used car dealership on Fourth St. Both were veterans of World War II, and had been with the department for less than five years. They survived the war, but died fighting another enemy - fire. See our Major Fires section under structure fires in 1950 for the story and video, and also the Line of Duty Deaths section. Marin County Arson Investigator Charles I. Daniels, Jr. is featured in the story, and we've also started his biography under the biography section.
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Bill Lellis & Paul Smith