VFD Badge with Mourning Band

Valparaiso Fire Department Line of Duty Deaths​

​(Beginning with the Most Recent)

We strongly believe in remembering our past and to "Never Forget", but to also look ahead with courage, strength, and hope.

  • February 19th, 1926 - Valparaiso FF Robert Bartholomew

     - Died while fighting a fire at the Academy of Music and the neighboring Kaufman Bargain Store at the corner of Washington Street and Lincolnway.  Bartholomew and five other firefighters were on the second floor of the Kaufman building when a wall of the Academy collapsed on them. The men fell to the basement, and Bartholomew and a second fireman, Harry McNamara of the Gary Fire Department, reportedly drowned. The other four somehow survived. 
  • June 15th, 1905 - Valparaiso FF Sylvester (Vet) Chester

     - Was the driver of a fire wagon and while responding to a fire, was thrown off of the wagon at the corner of Lincolnway and Franklin.  He later died on September 16, 1907 from complications of the injuries sustained.
  • May 4th, 1871​ - Valparaiso FF Thomas Lawkin

     - Was the first known fireman to die in the Line of Duty with the Valparaiso Fire Department.  He died at the Freeman and Hawkins store fire while removing an awning, trapping him beneath.