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Shoeless and Deadly: The Sterling Brothers Shoe Factory Fire

photo of Chief John A Roe black and white

110 years ago, fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday January 6th, 1904 at the Sterling Brothers shoe factory, northeast corner of Clarence and York streets.  When firemen arrived at the scene at 1:30 am, the four-storey brick building was engulfed in flames.  A hour later, Fire Chief John A. Roe (born December 19, 1841)  took some men to the south wall to battle the flames and told his men to get the ladder down from the wall.  Seconds later the wall collapsed, killing Chief Roe instantly and burying  several firefighters who suffered serious injuries but survived.      


photo of Chief John A Roe black and white

Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library, London, Ontario, Canada;