Fire Chief Tim Butler

Fire Chief Tim Butler
Thanks for checking out my web log! My radio call sign in Saint Paul is "Car 1." Join me as we go "On Scene" to the fire stations, training evolutions, emergency incidents, and community events in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Let's share perspectives on the issues facing our Department, our community, and the American Fire Service!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Good Morning, Everyone.

Today marks a tragic day in the history of the Saint Paul Fire Department – the anniversaries of 2 separate Line-of-Duty-Deaths - separated by 13 years.

The first of these duty-related Firefighter fatalities occurred on September 4, 1959 when Firefighter John Zasada fell down the pole hole at Station 4 and died of his injuries.  John’s death was the fourth department death related to falling down stairs or pole holes at the City’s fire stations.  These incidents occurred before the modern safeguards of pole hole railings and covers were installed.  Dimly lit station interiors and middle-of-the-night alarm responses contributed to this inherent danger.  As a result of John’s death and previous fire pole related tragedies, Stations 1 and 6 – built in 1964 – were constructed on a safer, single-story design.  Firefighter Zasada was assigned to Engine 4.

John was born in Saint Paul and attended Washington High School.  He joined the Department in 1956, was married, and lived at 572 Hall Street.  He was just 33 years old at the time of his death.

The second Line-of-Duty-Death occurred on September 4, 1972, when Fire Captain John Kill collapsed and died from a heart attack while working on a 5-alarm fire in the sweltering heat of the afternoon.  The fire was burning in an abandoned school – the McKinley Elementary School – at the corner of Carroll and Mackubin Avenues in the Midway District.  An arsonist likely set the fire, and investigators later found eight separate ignition sites in the building.  The fire eventually burned through to the attic and roof structure, and master streams were in operation.  Captain Kill and his company – Engine 18 – were establishing a water supply when John collapsed.  He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

John lived at 1243 Danforth Street.  He graduated from Cretin High School, and joined the Fire Department in 1942.  He served in the US Navy during WWII, and returned to the Fire Department and promoted to Fire Captain in 1948.

At 0800 hours this morning, Saint Paul Fire Department members will pause for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Firefighter John Zasada, Fire Captain John Kill, and all 62 members of the Saint Paul Fire Department who have given their life in the service of this Department and the Citizens of Saint Paul.  Please feel entirely free to join us from wherever you may be.

Tim Butler 
Fire Chief

No comments:

Post a Comment