NEW YORK — More than half a century ago, 12 firefighters were killed in what was the deadliest day in the New York City Fire Department ‘s history until the terror attacks on 9/11.
The fire started at 22nd Street and Broadway in the cellar of an art store on Oct. 17, 1966. It spread to Wonder Drug, all the way at 23rd Street.
Firefighters worked for 16 hours to get the blaze under control. Two chiefs, two lieutenants and eight firefighters were trapped after the floor caved in at the drugstore.
Deputy Chief Thomas Reilly, Battalion Chief Walter Higgins, Lt. John Finley, Lt. Joseph Priore and firefighters Rudy Kaminsky, Bernard Tepper, John Berry, Carl Le, William McCarron, James Galanaugh, Joseph Kelly and Daniel Rey died when Wonder Drug collapsed.
A high-rise apartment building now occupies the site of the deadly fire.