Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

In Memory of
Fireman Benjamin O. "Tex" Gause
Assigned to Truck 39
B Platoon
Driving Battalion 10
out of Fire Station 39
Appointed July 1, 1924
September 9, 1940
Traffic collision on Vanowen at Reseda Boulevard

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Fireman Benjamin O. "Tex" Gause


Fireman Killed
in Car Collision

Van Nuys Battalion
Chief Hurt Critically
in Same Accident

    Benjamin Gause, 47, a fireman attached to Tuck Co. 39 of the Van Nuys Fire Department, was killed and Battalion Chief Joseph Roder, in charge of the Valley division, was seriously injured yesterday when the automobile in which they were riding enroute to a fire collided with another car at Reseda and Vanowen Blvds.
    Police reported the men were bound for a house fire at 29700 Vanowen Blvd. when their car collided with one driven by Dr. Robert V. Carter of 6963 Baird Ave., Reseda.  Roder was treated at Georgia Street Receiving Hospital for severe head injuries.  Dr. Carter was treated at Valley Hospital for shoulder injuries.  His condition is not serious, physicians said.

Los Angeles Times, September 10, 1940

By Bill Goss

  I N the valley out at 39's, headquarters for the Chief of Battalion 10, at about 1:47 p.m., September 9, 1940, a ring came in for Battalion Chief Roeder to take in a fire at 20700 Van Owen street, some distance west of the Van Nuys station. On this day the Chief was riding one of the department's Buick sedans, and was driven by Fireman Ben "Tex" Gause, a member of Truck 29. The buggy headed west for the long roll out Van Owen along the typically flat open country of that section of the city. As they neared the intersection of Reseda boulevard, everything was clear so Tex let the Buick roll, when all of a sudden, apparently out of nowhere, a Chevrolet coupe, heading north-on Reseda bore down on them.

  In far less time than it takes to tell, the coupe plowed into the left front side of the Buick, tearing off the fender, demolishing the grill, hood and front of the car. In that instant of springing and tearing of steel, the left front door sprung open and Fireman "Tex" Gause was hurled clear of the wreckage, striking his head on the pavement, killing him instantly. The coupe, driven by a Dr. Carter of Reseda, was smashed up on its right front and side, skidding and turning over several times before coming to rest in an adjacent field. Passersby called an ambulance and Chief Roeder was removed to the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where he was hospitalized for severe head and shoulder injuries. The body of Fireman Gause had to be held pending the arrival of the corner.

  Tex's body was removed to the Canoga Park Funeral Home where services were held with Chaplain Cordell, of the Relief Association, officiating, aided by the Fire Fighters' Post of the American Legion. Pallbearers were his comrades of 39s and the detail was in charge of Assistant Chief Augustne. Ben Gause was born in Houston, Texas, November 3, 1897, of Scotch parentage, and was survived by his widow, Mrs. June Gause.  He was also survived by his stepchildren:  Robert Donaldson and Charles C. Donaldson.  He was appointed to the Los Angeles Fire Department July 1, 1924. He was interred at Oakwood cemetery in the Valley.

This article appeared in the June, 1945 issue of the The Firemen's Grape Vine.

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