Firemen Rescues Five From Sewer

     On January 27, 1904, six laborers entered a manhole at Second and Plum Streets to clean out the sewer.  The tunnel was only about two and half feet in diameter.  After the men had travelled about 150 feet, sewer gas started to over come the men.  Realizing the danger of their situation, the men started backing down the sewer.

     Fortunately, the foreman on the job, a man named McDonough, saw the sewer filling up with gas.  He ran to the nearby Engine Company 22 of the St. Louis Fire Department.  McDonough and a team of St. Louis Firemen returned to the manhole.

     St. Louis Firefighters rescued Miles O’Donnell, Patrick McCarthy, Nicholas Carroll, Patrick Kelly and John Flanagan to the surface.  McDonough exclaimed that one of his men was missing.  Michael Faheed had not returned with the other men.

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Fireman Michael Kane’s Daring Rescue Attempt in the January 28, 1904 edition of the St. Louis Republic

     St. Louis Firefighter Michael Kane quickly grabbed a miner’s lamp, which he attached to his hat.  After tying a rope around his waist, Kane dropped into the sewer filled with gas, mud and water and crawled 150 feet back down the two and a half foot sewer.

     Kane found Faheed towards the end of the tunnel where the gas overcame the men.  Kane felt Faheed’s wrist but he had no pulse.  Kane tied the rope around Faheed’s waist, so Kane and the other firemen could pull Faheed from the sewer.  Faheed was married at the time of his death.

     Michael Kane’s ability to withstand the gas and pull Faheed from the gas filled tunnel attested to his superior physical fitness.  To crawl such a distance and drag another man back for this distance even with assistance is an incredible feat of strenght.  The mud and water would have impeded the removal of Faheed’s body.

     Kane’s physical fitness would not be able to save him from a skull fracture and shock.  A streetcar struck the fire truck Michael Kane was riding in on April 17, 1922.  The force of the collision fractured Kane’s skull.  The St. Louis Coroner ruled his death a homicide.  Kane was 56 and four days have been born on April 13, 1866.

     Before this tragedy, his actions saved five men.  If Kane could have willed it, the number would have been six.

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