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Throughout the Lockport Volunteer Fire Department & the Lockport Township Fire Protection District's storied history, two firefighters have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty. We honor both Firefighters on our Memorial Walk located at our Station #6.

December 17, 1897


Volunteer Firefighter

Lockport Volunteer Fire Department

First Line of Duty Death occurs.

FF W. W. Gardiner succumbs to injuries at a fire at 6th & Hamilton Streets.


    One of the saddest deaths which have ever occurred in Lockport was that of William H. Gardiner, last Friday night, December 17th. He was stricken while performing his duties as a member of the volunteer fire department at the Forkel fire*. When taken ill, Mr. Gardiner was immediately removed to his home and given the best of medical treatment, but in an hour he was dead.

     When the fire alarm sounded at about 9 o’clock Friday evening, Mr. Gardiner, who was downtown, hastened with all possible speed to the station of No. 2 Hose Company,

in North Lockport, to which he belonged and assisted in running out a lead of hose. In a few minutes after arriving, he was prostrated by the long hard run in the cold air and was removed to his home and tenderly cared for.

     William W. Gardiner was the only living son of Mr.  & Mrs. William H. Gardiner and was 26 years of age. He was a young man of kind disposition and upright character and no one ever knew him to commit a wrong in word or deed. Besides his parents, one sister survives.

    The funeral which occurred from the late residence to St. Dennis Catholic Church Monday afternoon was an imposing spectacle and very large attended. The Fire Department and Modern Woodmen, headed by the Joliet Band, preceded the remains. The floral tributes were many and of the handsomest and most costly design, principal among which were large pieces from the Fire Department and Woodmen and beautiful offerings from friends and neighbors.

     The impressive ceremonies at the church were conducted by Rev. Dr. McGovern and Rev. Father Downey delivered the sermon.

November 28, 1976



Paid-on-Call Firefighter

Lockport Township Fire Protection District


Second Line of Duty Death. FF Keith Kinnard succumbs to injuries at the Strike & Spare Bowling Alley Fire.

Around 10 PM, an employee of the bowling alley reported the fire after noticing sparks and smoke coming out of a light fixture. Kinnard was one of the first firefighters to arrive on scene, and he joined two other Lockport firefighters as they lead a hose line into the building. The hose line was hooked up to a tanker truck because there were no fire hydrants nearby, and the firefighters had just reached the flames at the far end of the building when the water supply ran out. As the firefighters turned back they realized that flames were also in the ceiling above them. Kinnard and the other firefighters were following the hose line back out of the building when the fire and heat in the ceiling caused the truss roof to collapse. The other two firefighters were able to escape with minor injuries, but Kinnard was trapped less than thirty feet from the exit and killed by the falling debris. More than 100 firefighters from ten different departments responded to the fire, and it took firefighters several hours to extinguish the fire and recover Kinnard’s body.

Kinnard had been a paid-on-call firefighter for three months, and he was attending Joliet Junior College where he studied Fire Science. He was buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville on December 2, following funeral services at St. Joseph’s Church in Lockport. Hundreds of firefighters from more than forty communities attended the funeral services.

Information courtesy of Illinois Fire Service Institute.

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