Ohio Historical Marker to be placed at site of fire that took a - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Ohio Historical Marker to be placed at site of fire that took a Toledo firefighter's life

Captain James Fraser Captain James Fraser

The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department along with ProMedica will honor a Toledo firefighter on Friday who lost his life in the line of duty.

An Ohio Historical Marker will be placed in front of the ProMedica Headquarters, the site of the King-Quale Grain Elevator fire that took the life of Captain James Fraser more than 100 years ago. 

Captain Fraser was part of the crew fighting the fire back on January 3, 1894. A fire broke out at the grain elevator, and wind from the Maumee River drove the flames toward the center of Toledo's business district.

The fire destroyed several buildings, including the Chamber of Commerce and the West & Truax building. 

Captain Fraser and his crew began battling the fire at the elevator and had reached the top of elevator when several explosions went off. 

The explosions were credited to super-heated grain dust that had built up in the elevator. 

Captain Fraser and another fireman, Alfred Blaine, then moved to the third floor to find a better location to fight the fire. 

By all accounts, both men were driven to the floor by intense heat and smoke. 

The following account of the fire was later told to a reporter by Fireman Blaine, who survived the fire, on January 6, 1894:

I could stand it no longer, and so I got down and followed the hose down. Fraser, peering through the smoke said: 'Where are you Fred?' 'Follow the hose down, leap,' I said in reply. This is the last words I heard of the Captain. I crept down to the second floor when I too lost the hose. I laid down, covered myself up with my coat and gave myself up. Finally, I saw a light and made for it. I managed to reach a window, when I was found by the men. I told them to go back after Fraser and thought they had for some time afterward."

Crews searched for Captain Fraser for several days, but his body was never found. 

When the search was suspended on January 11, all the crew found of the Captain was the wire rims of his glasses and a brass buckle from his suspenders. 

The Ohio Historical Marker will serve as a memorial of his bravery and sacrifice. 

The marker will be placed at ProMedica Headquarters on October 13 at 11 a.m. 

Fire Chief Luis Santiago, ProMedica President & CEO Randy Oostra and family members of Captain Fraser will be at the event, which will include a traditional firefighters Last Alarm Ceremony. 

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