Medina FD will honor village employee who died in fire in 1920

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 October 2014 at 12:00 am

The Jan. 4, 1920 issue of The Buffalo Express details the fatal fire.

Edward O’Brien

MEDINA – It was bitterly cold on Jan. 3, 1920 when a fire broke out of a South Main Street house owned by Walter Crisp.

Edward O’Brien was the village’s street and water superintendent. He worried the cold temperatures would crimp water pressure, making it harder for firefighters to put out the blaze.

O’Brien was on the scene, helping a firefighter place a ladder on the house when the roof caved in. The chimney then toppled and landed on O’Brien, killing him. His 9-year-old son Francis was there for his father’s last breath before running home to get his mother, according to the Jan. 4, 1920 edition of The Buffalo Express.

File photo by Tom Rivers – Medina firefighters Josh Wolck, left, and Matt Jackson served as the honor guard for a new firefighters’ memorial in front of City Hall that was dedicated Sept. 28, 2013. There will be another memorial service at 10 a.m. today and Edward O’Brien’s name will be added to a brick by the memorial.

About a year ago the Fire Department dedicated a new memorial outside City Hall for firefighters who died in the line of duty and also unveiled memorial bricks in honor of past firefighters who have since died.

Today, O’Brien will be recognized with a memorial brick as part of a memorial service at 10 a.m. outside City Hall.

Jonathan Higgins, a captain with the Medina FD, said the department wants to honor O’Brien for his heroic efforts.

The department learned about O’Brien’s tragic death after the memorial was erected about a year ago. Some of O’Brien’s family are expected for today’s service.

The memorial service will precede the department’s annual open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. That will include a chicken barbecue, an opportunity to meet firefighters and tour fire trucks, experience a rollover simulator and give in a blood drive.