At the invitation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, IAFF President William D. Buck attends the President’s Conference on Occupational Safety. More than 3,000 leaders from American industry, labor, agriculture, federal, state and local governments, insurance, education, health and private safety organizations attend the meeting in Washington, DC.
The IAFF holds a two-day seminar in Chicago to inform locals of their rights and responsibilities under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Officials from more than 200 locals attend the briefing session.
The IAFF begins a campaign for a wage increase in the U.S. Congress for all federal fire fighters.
The IAFF publishes a state-by-state “Political Scoreboard for 1960 Elections” to help fire fighters monitor and influence legislation. Federal fire fighters from affiliates across the United States join with other federal employee unions to push a 7.5 to 8 percent pay raise bill through both branches of Congress.
The IAFF holds its 25th Convention in Buffalo, New York. Delegates adopt a revised Constitution and Bylaws.
John A. Reed, MD addresses the problem of alcoholism, malingering and other medical and surgical care issues confronting the fire service.
The Common Council of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada adopts a heart and lung bill for fire fighters which will provide them with 60 percent of full salary on a disability retirement. In the United States, 10 states have passed heart bills, presuming that if a fire fighter is stricken with a heart ailment it was caused while he was performing his duty.
The IAFF takes the lead to have airports throughout the United States and Canada properly and adequately staffed with professional fire fighters and firefighting equipment to ensure the safety of millions of travelers.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association of America presents a Special Merit Award to IAFF President William D. Buck at the IAFF 25th Convention.
The IAFF supports Project HOPE to promote world peace and aid the sick of the world. This new program of the People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc. will equip and staff a hospital ship, which will travel initially to Southeast Asia. A total of 65 affiliates donate $438.80 towards Project HOPE.
Delegates pass a resolution to charge a registration fee of $10 for delegates and alternate delegates and $5 to adult guests at all future IAFF conventions to allow smaller cities an equal chance to bid on the honor of hosting the convention.
February 22, 1960
Three fire fighters are killed in St. Louis, Missouri, while fighting a blaze in an old three-story building on the night of February 22 in below-freezing temperatures. With 31 pieces of firefighting equipment, fire fighters contained the fire to keep it from spreading to adjoining business establishments. While the men were working on all three floors, a portion of the third floor at a center fire wall gave way without warning. All three floors crashed into the basement carrying fire fighters into a heap of rubble. Six men were released quickly, but the others were pinned down by heavy timbers and debris. After hours of work, the three fire fighters who were trapped were declared dead.
41 fire fighters have been killed in five years fighting liquid tank fires.
March 2, 1960
In the midst of a fire, a weakened three-story wall collapsed and eight fire fighters fell with the falling debris and were buried under 10 feet of broken bricks and cement slabs. Fellow fire fighters worked rapidly and were able to save three of these men. The other five were lost in the tragedy. This was the worst fire tragedy in Montreal since 1877.
“The death and injury rate to fire fighters last year reached alarming proportions. Notwithstanding the fact that firefighting is a dangerous and hazardous profession, this carnage must be brought to an irreducible minimum as quickly as possible and that means NOW.”
William D. Buck, IAFF President (1957-1968)
A U.S. Department of Labor study of cities across the nation reveals that the average American worker and his family must have a minimum yearly income of $6,130 to meet basic economic needs. In a few cities, fire fighters receive a salary sufficient to meet these standards. In other municipalities, however, fire fighters’ salaries lag far behind this modest family budget.
Reports from affiliates of the IAFF reveal that a significant number of communities are reimbursed for responding to alarms of fire outside city limits.
The IAFF’s Accident and Death Survey of 1,200 cities and towns reveals that fire fighters in the United States suffered more accidental deaths and accidents in 1959 than in 1958.
The IAFF decries insurance companies penalizing fire fighters on car insurance rates. In various states, insurance policies have been canceled due to the frequency of traffic accidents chalked up against them while driving official emergency vehicles to alarms.
Two Scarborough, Ontario, fire fighters are killed in the line of duty.