Shakopee Fire Department

Max Wermerskirchen - Shakopee FD

Maximus G. Wermerskirchen, Firefighter - September 30, 1959

Newspaper article dated Thursday, October 1, 1959 "Fireman Killed Fighting Hughes Garage Fire"

Max Wermerskirchen, 28, Shakopee volunteer fireman is the victim of a $200,000 six-hour blaze which yesterday gutted the former Hughes garage on second and Lewis streets.

The fireman, a member of the fire department since only last spring, is the first fire department fire fatality in the community.  Wermerskirchen was killed when he fell through the roof of the structure at about 1:50 a.m. shortly after the alarm had been sounded.

According to observers on the scene, he was breaking the skylight on the roof during "venting" operations which would have allowed the firemen to douse the center of the blaze above the firm's main office area.

He landed on the top of a concrete records vault only several feet below the roof level, a circumstance which made it impossible for rescuers to find him until the flames had subsided.

Heroic rescue attempts were made by fire chief Art Dubois and other firemen who entered the burning building in a vain search for the victim.  Dubois led a crew of rescue workers into the building again and brought out the body at about 4:30 a.m.

Rescue would have been much more likely had the fire fighter dropped through almost any other place on the roof.  Had such been the case, he probably would have dropped into the garage where rescuers could have found him.

Other firemen on the top of the building at the time of the tragedy include Dubois, assistant Chief Robert Wampach, Ed Mosser, and John Suel.