Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

In Memory of
Fireman James C. Slinkard
Engine Company 8
A Platoon
Appointed June 8, 1920
Died November 8, 1941
Responding to an overheated refrigerator motor at
1357 S. Valencia St., Sinkard fell from Engine 8's tailboard
turning from Pico Blvd.  onto Valencia Street.

* * * * * * * * * *

Fireman James C. Slinkard


Fireman Slinkard Meets
                             Death in Tragic Mishap

    Tragedy struck a swift and inexorable blow on Saturday, November 8th, when Fireman James C. Slinkard of Engine 8-A fell from the apparatus which was responding to an alarm at 1357 South Valencia Street.

    A telephone call came at 1:39 p.m., reporting an overheated ice box motor at the above address.  Under Captain Neely, Engine 8 proceeded east on Pico and as the turn was made into South Valencia, Slinkard, who was standing on the left rear of the apparatus, unaccountably fell to the pavement and incurred a fracture of the skull.

    He was quickly removed to Georgia Street Receiving Hospital but despite heroic efforts to save him, died at 6:45 p.m.

    James Slinkard, who was 53 years of age, was a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department for 22 1/2 years and was well known and liked throughout the department.

    He is survived by his wife, Ruby, and two children, James Jr., 21; and Lucille, 23.

The Firemen's Grapevine                                                                        November 15, 1941

Source: Los Angeles Fire Department Photo
Walt Pittman Collection
August 21, 1938

Engine Company No. 8
1839 South Hoover Street

By Bill Goss

  J AMES C. "JIM" SLINKARD, veteran fire fighter of Engine 8, who had his time in, a large part of which he spent at 8s, was asked one day when he was going to take it and he said, "not for a while, until the kids get a little bigger." It was at 1:39 p.m., the afternoon of November 8, 1941. Engine 8 got a long ring for a fire at 1357 Valencia. Autofireman Lawrence Richerson headed the wagon north to Pico street and Valencia; slowed down, taking the corner at about 12 to 15 miles per hour, thinking the company might lay a line, but seeing several other companies in front of the location, proceeded on down the street to the address. As soon as the rig came to a stop, Fireman Ray Moon, who rode the tail board with Slinkard, ran up to the front of the apparatus and said that at the corner Jim had fallen off the rig. Richerson backed the wagon up a short ways and, parking it, ran back to the scene of the accident.

  Engineer Eugene Briggs, who had been following the wagon with his pump at a distance of about 60 feet, saw Slinkard, who was riding the left rear side of the hose wagon, lose his balance as the wagon made the turn. Jim tried unsuccessfully to regain his hand hold and fell to the street, landing on his back and rolling over one and a half times, ending face down on the pavement. Briggs stopped the pump and got out to render what first aid he could and see what was the matter.

  Meanwhile, Chief Bennett, Chief of Battalion 4, rolled up to the Valencia street address and was notified by Captain Sims of Engine 50 that it was only a refrigerant leak. The Chief then noticed the commotion at the corner of Pico and proceeded there to see what had happened. He dispatched his operator to call an ambulance and Slinkard was quickly removed to the nearby Receiving Hospital, where it was found that he was unconscious, due to a severe concussion and subdural hemorrhaging of the brain. His skull was not fractured as he had fastened the chin strap on his helmet and never lost it in the fall. The shock of the impact was the cause of the injury. Growing steadily worse, Slinkard was removed to surgery at 3:00 p.m. in an attempt to remove some of the internal pressure in his head. However, all the efforts of the staff of the hospital were of no avail, and Jim Slinkard passed away at 6:45 p.m. of the same day.

  James Slinkard was born at Burfettville, Missouri on October 12, 1888, and he was survived by his wife, Mrs. Ruby Slinkard and their two children. He served in the armed forces during World War I and came to the Los Angeles Fire Department June 8, 1920. Funeral services were held at Edwards Brothers chapel with the pastor of St. Matthias Episcopal church officiating, assisted by the chaplain of the Relief Association. Interment was at Inglewood Park with the Fire Fighters' Post No. 102 in charge of the grave side rites.


The Firemen's Grape Vine,  June 1945

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