Note: This is an encore post from 2007.
Jan. 6, 1907
The Los Angeles Fireman’s Relief Association is staging a benefit for the young widow of ladderman Adolph Hermansen, who plunged out a window and fell five stories while fighting a spectacular blaze that destroyed the new Cohn and Goldwater Building at 216 S. Los Angeles St.
According to some accounts, Hermansen was struck by a blast of water from a fire hose that knocked him out the window, while others say he stumbled or was knocked backward while moving a hose. He fell to the street and although he wasn’t killed, doctors said he was paralyzed below the waist and had a 1 in 100 chance of survival.
Hermansen lingered for about a day, with his new bride “waiting for the dying man’s last word,” as fellow firefighters from Engine Co. 10 visited his hospital room, The Times says.
“The accident is one of the saddest in the history of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” The Times says. “Hermansen was much esteemed by his superiors. He was relief driver of Engine Co. 10, as well as ladderman.”
Each fire company sent two men in uniform to accompany his casket, which was escorted by every man from Engine Co. 10. There were so many flowers at his funeral that two wagons were needed to carry them all to the cemetery.
Placed on Hermansen’s casket was a floral reproduction of Fire Alarm Box 39, “in answer to whose call Hermansen had met his death,” The Times says.
Cohn and Goldwater announced that they would rebuild the destroyed structure.