Telegraph Herald
Wednesday August 13, 1952

Fire Captain Dies at Main St. Blaze

Three Are Overcome In Smoke-filled Store

Capt. Patrick M. Casey, Veteran of 28 Years Enters Building, Collapses, Fatally Stricken

One fireman died and three were overcome by smoke during a three alarm fire early Wednesday at the Hub Clothing Store, 744 Main St.

Dead was Capt. Patrick M. Casey, 55, of 202 Cardiff St., fireman for 28 years.

Coroner Norbert F. Behr said an autopsy would be performed Wednesday. It was pointed out that death may have been caused by overexertion, smoke or natural causes.

Critically overcome by smoke was Pipeman William R. Purcell, 26, of 17681/2 Jackson St. Stricken on the third floor more than half an hour after the fire was extinguished, Purcell was taken to Mercy Hospital in the city ambulance.

Purcell's condition was reported as "fairly good" early Wednesday afternoon.

2 Others Overcome
Also overcome by smoke fumes were Lt. Vincent Weber, 39, of 1951 Garfield Ave., and Pipeman William Toner, 27, of 1363 Iowa St. They also were taken to Mercy Hospital in the ambulance.

They were reported doing "fairly well" early in the afternoon.

Fire Chief Thomas C. Hickson said Capt. Casey had been in the building only a few minutes when he was stricken. He entered the store through the broken glass of the front door, went to the rear and collapsed at the foot of the stairs leading to the mezzanine and upper floors. He was pronounced dead a few minutes later.

Steam Boiler Blamed
Flames swept into all three floors of the brick building but were confined to southeast corner. The fire was attributed to a steam boiler attached to a pressing machine on the second floor.

Indications were, Chief Hickson said, that the fire burned for some, time before it was discovered at 7:13 a.m., when the first alarm was sounded. Joists of the second floor were burned completely through and furniture and considerable clothing in the tailor shop were completely consumed.

Dalton Urbach, manager of the store, said that he would be unable to estimate the damage.

Chief Hickson estimated damage at approximately $50,000.

Suits Burned, Singed
Urbach said that most of the damage to stock occurred on the third floor, used for storage, and in the second floor boys department. He said "some suits were burned and plenty of them were singed." No one was in the building when the fire broke out.

The alarm was turned in by pedestrian who ran into the Ninth St. fire station. He said that in crossing the alley between and Iowa streets on Ninth, more than a block away from the fire he "saw smoke pouring from the back of Hartig's Drug Store. Equipment was sped to the scene.

All Equipment Out
Twelve minutes later the second alarm was sounded, and in another minute the third alarm. A third alarm calls out all equipment and all firemen, on and off duty.

Engines 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and Truck 1 saw service. Four streams of water and one of chemical were poured on the flames. They were extinguished within minutes after firemen arrived despite the handicap of a steel ceiling on the first floor.

Water damage was not considered heavy because of good protection given by tarpaulins.

Smash Glass to Enter
Firemen smashed glass in the front door and windows at the rear to get into the building. Smoke was light on the first floor, but the firefighters were forced to wear masks to get to the second and third floors.

Three other firemen in addition to those hospitalized, were forced to take oxygen treatments at the scene. It was said that smoke poisoning is not always apparent until several minutes after exposure.

Hundreds of workbound Duhuquers watched the firemen at work. Equipment blocked Main Street and the alley at the rear of the store. Traffic officers shunted southbound one way traffic off Main Street onto Eighth Avenue. It was the first time in several years, that traffic made turns at that intersection.

Funeral Plans
Services for Capt. Casey will be held Saturday morning at a time to be announced from the Ashworth and Bennett Funeral Home to St. Raphael's Cathedral. Burial will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Friends may call after 7 p. m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Born March 17, 1897, in Chicago, Ill., Capt. Casey had lived in Dubuque since he was three years old.

He entered the fire department May 20, 1924, was appointed engineman Dec. 19, 1938, become a lieutenant May 16, 1945 and a captain July 10, 1947.
On Nov. 4, 1919, he married Miss Carmelita Callahan.

Capt. Casey was a member of local 353 of Iowa Association of Fire Fighters and of the American Legion. He was a member of the Cathedral parish and it's Holy Name Society.

Surviving are his wife; one daughter, Miss Patricia Ann Casey, at home; two sisters, Mrs. Al (Francis) Gaynor, of Dubuque, and Mrs. Carl (Margaret) Hanna, of Chicago; two brothers, John and William Casey, both of Chicago,
and nieces and nephews. His parents preceded him.

Telegraph Herald
Thursday August 14, 1952

Fireman's Death Attributed to Natural Causes

Fire Capt. Patrick M. Casey, 55, of 202 Cardiff St., who collapsed, Wednesday morning during the Hub Clothing Store fire, died of natural causes, Coroner Norbert Behr ruled after an autopsy Wednesday afternoon.

The autopsy showed death followed a heart attack. Services for Capt. Casey, a fireman for 28 years, will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday from the Ashworth and Bennett Funeral Home to St. Raphael's Cathedral. Military services will be conducted by the Dubuque American Legion post.

Three other firemen who were overcome by smoke were reported in "fair" condition Thursday morning at Mercy Hospital. They are Lt. Vincent Weber, of 1951 Garfield Ave.; Pipeman William Toner, of 1363 Iowa St.; and Pipeman William R. Purcell, of 1768 Jackson St.

Telegraph Herald
Friday August 15, 1952

City Councilmen Honor Memory Of Capt. Casey

The city council paid tribute the late Fire Captain Patrick Casey at its special meeting Thursday.

A resolution adopted by the council in honor of the fireman who died Wednesday during a fire at the Hub Clothing Company, read in part:

"During his career with the Dubuque Fire Department, he distinguished himself not only in education and development necessary to his professional qualifications, but also in his unselfish interest in the welfare of his fellow citizens and his co-workers; thus he attained man's noblest ideal."

The three firemen who were overcome by smoke in the fire have been discharged from Mercy Hospital. They are: Pipeman William Toner, of 1361 Iowa St.; Pipeman William R. Purcell, of 1768 Jackson and Lt. Vincent Weber, of 1951 Garfield Ave.

Telegraph Herald
Sunday August 17, 1952

Services for Capt. Patrick M. Casey, Dubuque fireman, who died during a fire in the Hub Clothing Store Wednesday morning, were held at 9 a.m. Saturday from the Ashworth and Bennett Funeral Home to St. Raphael's Cathedral.

The Rt. Rev. Msgr. J.V. Casey officiated at the requiem high mass. Attending the services were the Rev. Louis E. Ernsdorf, of Loras College, the Rev. William P. Greener, of St. Patrick's Church, and the Rev. Daniel J. Tarrant, of Loras College.

Msgr. Casey gave the sermon and officiated at the burial in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. He was assisted at the cemetery by Father Ernsdorf, Father Greener and Father Tarrant.

Pallbearers were Sr. Capt. H. Cosgrove, Capt. J. McCann, Capt. W. Blaser, Lt. C. Kearney, Lt. B. O'Leary, and Sr. Capt. William Higgins.

Honorary pallbearers were Chief Thomas C. Hickson, Sr. Capt. W. Higgins, Capt. F. Henkels, L. Chambers, F. Lay; R. Livermore, W. Lynch, J. Doyle, R. Boland, W. Badger, M. Bandy, F. Kaiser, J Corbett, J. Kemps, M. Fury, E. White, L. Eagan, J. Goff, H. Whitfield, E. Strohmeyer, R. Hantelmann, J. Pregler and C. Winter, all Dubuque firemen.

Honorary escort from the Dubuque Police Department were James Corbett, Capt. William Trentz, Capt. Wilfred Andresen, Capt. Joseph Osterhoff, John Donahue and Gus Fecker.

Members of the Women's' Auxiliary of the Fire Department, attending the services were Mrs. M. Bandy, Mrs. John Doyle, Mrs. J. Goff, Mrs. L. Hallahan, Mrs. L. Hantelmann, Mrs. W. Higgins, Mrs. T. Hickson, Mrs. C. Kearney, Mrs. J. Neyens, Mrs. F. Lay, Mrs. F. McDermott, Mrs. W. Purcell, Mrs. N. Rauch, Mrs. J. Schadle, Mrs. W. Toner, Mrs. M. Viertel and Mrs. Chambers.

Members of the Dubuque American Legion post in the military funeral detail were: Allen Kane, commander; the Rev. H.H. Long, chaplain; George LaPrell and Clarence Hagge, Jr., buglers; William Lynch, Robert Boland, Leo Chambers and Leroy Hantelmann, color guards and beaters; and Sammie Smith, commander, Wi1liarn Watters, Wade Clark, Edward Laury, John Meyer, Burton Leffert, Carl Koenig, William Sheldon, Bud Sommerfield and Leo Hallahan, firing squad.

Among honorary pallbearers at the funeral of Fire Capt. Patrick M. and not listed in the funeral notice were Fire Chief Harold Nelsen of Clinton, Ia., and the following representatives of the Iowa Association of Firefighters: Assistant Chief Elmer Domsalla, of Clinton; Bernard Brown, Stanley Colda and John Maher, all of Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Clark Brollier and Joseph 0'Connell, both of Waterloo, Ia., and John Denekas, of Davenport. Ia., Mrs. Denekas and Mrs. Colda represented the state auxiliary.

The Dubuque Leader
Official Newspaper of Dubuque Organized Labor. The Voice Of The Common People.


In Line of Duty

You can frame a eulogy for Pat Casey in a few short words:

He died in line of duty.

The former president of fire fighters local 353 was not playing hero at the Hub clothing store fire Wednesday morning. His death was not spectacular. He had not much more than entered the smoky building when he complained about feeling sick. He took a few steps, turned around, and keeled over. His death appears to have been due to overexertion and a heart attack.

He and four other firemen who were injured provide striking examples that the Iowa Association of Fire Fighters (AFL) had something in a pair of resolutions adopted at its recent state convention in Mason City.

One resolution asked for the recognition of heart disease as an occupational ailment of firemen. A combination of exertion, strain, and smoke is common. Is it too much to ask that protection be given the men whose hearts are put under tension at a fire? They stand ready to protect your lives and property. Are you willing to help protect them?

Another resolution asked that cities be required by the state legislature to provide nursing, hospital, and medical service for police and firemen injured on duty. Dubuque now does that. Three of the men injured Wednesday were sent to the hospital. Julius Neyens had to have six stitches to close a cut on one hand.

Smoke and overexertion were blamed in the cases of Lieutenant Vince Weber and Firemen William Purcell and William Toner. One encountered gas from a heater blamed for the fire. The other two were hospitalized primarily for checkups to make sure whether they had suffered any serious damage.

Dubuque is fortunate in having a good fire department. An alert bystander and prompt attention by firemen combined to check this downtown fire. With the number of old buildings concentrated in the city's downtown area the community is lucky that the fire did not spread. As it is, an early estimate appraised the damage at about $50,000. Some smoke got to the second floor of the Hartig drug store building, but so far as could be learned at press time that was about all outside of the Hub.

Efficiency in this case is coupled with risk. Firemen can't wait until personal danger is over before they combat the blaze. Because their service is performed for the community, it should be the responsibility of the community to do everything possible to see them through the injury and sickness which may be incidental to performance of duty.

One Dubuque fireman previously became crippled for life.

Now we have had a new and dramatic illustration of the truth underlying two resolutions adopted by the union convention at Mason City.

We will await the verdict of an autopsy to be held by Coroner Norbert Behr before passing judgment on the precise cause of Pat Casey's death. Investigation may bear out the theory that he died at the comparatively early age of 55 owing in part to a hazardous occupation.

· Be that as it may, the responsibility of the community generally to those who serve it under dangerous conditions is clear. This responsibility should be spelled out in laws to safeguard the men and their widows and orphans who stand between us and crime or disaster. Surely that is the least we can do.