Wisconsin Fire & EMS Memorial, Inc. - Wisconsin Rapids, WI

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(Wisconsin LODD List as of (1/1/2021

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Last Name
First Name
Job Title
Asst. Chief
Appleton F.D.
Date of Death

On Aug. 7, 1929, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Calnin died from burns suffered while fighting a grease fire.

According to department records, Calnin and other firefighters responded to Service Bakery, 833 W. College Ave., for a kettle of grease that was burning in the basement. Calnin entered the basement with firefighters Nick Reider Jr. and Earl Gartz.

The firefighters "poured a tank of chemicals into the burning kettle," according to records. "A cover was placed over the top of the kettle, but the grease kept burning inside. Using their spanner hooks, the firefighters attempted to lift the kettle, but it overbalanced and spilled the grease over Reider and Calnin. The two men were on the far side of the kettle and had to dash through a wall of flames to get to the steps and the open air."

Another firefighter, Walter Smith, tried to run from the cellar to call for more help but slipped on the grease and fell into the flames, suffering burns on his neck and hands.

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