Los Angeles Fire Department
In Memory of
Fireman Thomas C. Collier, Jr.
Engine Company 3 (Snorkel 3)
Appointed April 25, 1942
Died July 5, 1970
Died of injuries suffered when
Snorkel 3 overturned at fire.
710 South Broadway
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A-8 Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Monday July 6, 1970
Fireman Killed, 2
A Los Angeles fireman was fatally injured Sunday when the snorkel unit in which he and two other firemen were ridding suddenly toppled at the scene of a downtown fire, dripping them 50 feet to the street.
The accident occurred as the men were being raised above the Lankershim Hotel, 230 W. 7th St., which at the time, was believed to have been the source of heavy smoke.
The 85-foot aerial unit, said William Kemp, a security guard who witnessed the mishap, "came down like a big tree," throwing the men to the street. None in a crowd of several hundred bystanders was injured.
The three firemen were taken to Central Receiving Hospital, where Tom Collier, 57, died 2 1/2 hours later of head injuries, Firemen James Denning, 32, and Fire Capt. Hillis Baker, 45, were hospitalized with multiple fractures.
Hydraulic Failure Possible
Cause of the collapse was not determined immediately, but Fire Chief Raymond Hill said it was possible there was a hydraulic failure in one or both of the ground jacks, causing the snorkel unit to list and then topple.
Shortly after the accident, it was determined that the smoke was coming from a grease vent in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant next to the hotel.
The $90,000 snorkel is one of five owned by the department.
The only similar accident occurred about 20 years ago when an aerial
ladder tipped over during a Fire Department drill. As a result of
that accident, extensive research was done into the angle at which aerial
trucks should be positioned when the ladders are in use.
Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved.