Montgomery County
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ten years ago today, Captains Rob Morrison and Derek Martin of the St. Louis Fire Department received fatal injures while searching for a reported missing firefighter.  The four alarm fire at Gravois Refrigeration Company which distributed goods to local grocers, shortly after 9:00 PM.  Approximately twenty minutes into the fire attack, an accountability check showed one firefighter missing.  Morrison and Martin entered the structure to begin a search. 

            While this search was underway, concerns over the condition of the building lead the incident commander to order it evacuated.  A subsequent accountability check showed three missing, including the two captains.  The third firefighter was located, but the Morrison and Martin remained missing.  Another search was initiated and Morrison was found approximately eight feet from the front door and Martin deeper in the structure. 

            Captain Morrison left behind a wife and two children.  Captain Martin was survived by his wife and three children. 

            There were reported issues involving the Survivair breathing apparatus worn by Captain Morris and subsequent lawsuits resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and awards in the cases to the families of Morris and Martin. 


Gary Ryman

Author of Fire Men:  Stories From Three Generations of a Firefighting Family