Friday, November 14, 2008

Joe Schimper

Joe Schimper, a pitcher for the Empire Club in the 1870's who for reasons unknown was also known as Joe Chambers, was one of many Empire Club members who worked for the St. Louis Fire Department. While it's possible that the club used jobs with the StLFD as a means of compensating their players, many of the club members who worked for the StLFD went on to have long and honorable careers as firemen. Several sustained injuries while fighting fires and at least two lost their lives in the line of duty, including Joe Schimper.

Around eleven p.m. on February 9, 1887, a fire broke out at Jesse Arnot's livery stable in St. Louis and Schimper, on duty that day, was one of the fireman who responded to the alarm and worked to put out the blaze. About a half hour after the StLFD arrived on the scene, one of the walls of the stable collapsed. Several firemen, including Joe Schimper, were trapped under the wall.

After the fire was put out, a search for the trapped firemen began and Schimper was the last to be found. According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, "(Schimper) was carried to the street limp and lifeless to all appearances. His friends thought they detected a faint sign of life, and carried him away as fast as possible to the Dispensary."

Schimper did not survive the night, dying from the injuries received "in the discharge of his duty..." He was one of three fireman to die in the Arnot fire.

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