Emil "Ed" Thompson 

 1868  -  April 27, 1899 at age 31  

 

Born :  in Europe                
Entered Fire Department :
January 1, 1897
Duty : Fire Fighter at Station # 5  
Buried
: Glenwood Cemetery, Section C, The Houston Firemen's Plot, Plot 98 

Ed met his demise through a series of coincidences that were unavoidable. At that particular time, Houston Avenue was in very poor condition which caused Station 5 to detour onto Hickory Street if their route required it. Hickory Street was not a favorite route of the Fire Department because at one place, a railroad track intersected it with an unusually steep grade crossing and an almost totally blind spot. On the day of the accident, Station 5 received a call for a house fire on Crocket Street which made them detour through Hickory Street. Meanwhile, Engine 56 of the Houston and Texas Central Railway was moving eleven cars, pushing them toward the Hickory Street crossing. Neither the railroad crew nor the Fire Department crew aboard the horse-drawn Hose Wagon 5 knew both would reach the dangerous railroad crossing at the same time. By the time the driver of Hose Wagon 5 was at the top of the grade, he knew he was in danger of being hit, but he was at the point of no return. Thinking quickly, he whipped and shouted at the well-trained horses and caused them to bolt forward suddenly. The fire fighters on the back of the wagon did not think the horses and wagon would clear the crossing in time, so they jumped off the back. The last man off was Ed Thompson who fell backward in the path of the railroad cars and was killed instantly.

Ed Thompson was the first paid Houston Fire fighter killed in the line of duty.

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