55 years ago on October 17th, 1966
12 members of the FDNY are killed when a burning building collapses, becoming the largest single loss of life in FDNY history until the September 11th attacks
The fire was fueled by flammable paint supplies stored in an art dealer's cellar that had been expanded from 7 East 22nd Street to partially under 6 East 23rd Street, and wooden support beams in the cellar were badly burned by the flames, causing the first floor to collapse, taking the firefighters along with it. The fire took 16 hours to bring under control and damaged the buildings so extensively that they needed to be torn down. Today, a large apartment building wraps around the corner and takes up the spaces where both buildings previously stood.