Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

In Memory of
Fireman Hugh J. Travers
Salvage Company 28
B Platoon
Appointed March 28, 1942
Died N
ovember 23, 1947
Caught in flashover.
Harold Furniture Company
1315 Wilshire Boulevard

* * * * * * * * * *

Fireman Hugh J. Travers

Fireman Hugh J. Travers, 32, was killed during an early morning fire, November 23, 1947 at the Harold Furniture Company, 1315 Wilshire Blvd.  The $50,000 fire seemed to be under control when a sudden flashover caught Travers just inside the front door.  Harold V. Asher and Jack L. Hudson, also assigned to Salvage 28, were seriously burned. 

Salvage Company No. 28
at Engine 16
139 N. Hope Street

Fireman, Night Watchman
Killed in Wilshire Blvd. Blaze

Dog Saves His
Master's Life in
Store Flames

    An early morning fire in a furniture store at 1315 Wilshire Blvd. caused the deaths of two men yesterday and resulted in damage to the building and its contents estimated at $50,000.
    The dead men were Fireman Hugh Travers, 32, of 1081 Rio Grande St., Pasadena, and Vance Norlick, 58, a night watchman, of 109 S. Hills St.  Travers succumbed when he was caught in a back draft. Norlick was trapped in sleeping quarters at the rear.
    Two other firemen, Harold Asher, 412 W. Gage Ave., and Jack Hudson, 740 W. 107th St., taken to Georgia Street receiving Hospital.

Dog Saves Master

    The building, occupied by the Harold Furniture Co., was gutted by the flames.  Stanley B. Rybkowski, 54, a night watchman who resided on the premises, narrowly escaped with his life when his dog Zip tugged at him and awakened him in time for him to make his way out of the smoke-filled store.
    Norlick, Rybkowski's brother-in-law, was visiting Rybkowski for the week-end.  They had gone out Saturday night for some food and beer.  Rybkowski said, and upon returning had retired in quarters at the rear.
    "I felt my dog tugging at me." the night watchman said.  "When I woke up and smelled smoke, I called to my brother-in-law.  I ran for the telephone to call the fire company.  He shouted he couldn't find his pants.  He couldn't see good.  I told him to forget his pants and follow me.  But I guess he couldn't find his way."
    The quarters in which the two men were sleeping were windowless and doorless.  Exit lay through a labyrinth of furniture.  Norlick's body was found huddled in a corner behind a stack of charred furniture.
    Rybkowski's reunion with Zip, the dog he obtained from the city animal shelter, was tinged with emotion, firemen said.  The husky man hugged the dog to him and told how the dog had paid a life for a life.
    "I saved him from bring gassed at the pound," the night watchman said, "and now he saved me"
    The firemen, members of Salvage Co. 28, were trapped in a back draft when they entered the building where the fire supposedly already was checked.  Unburned gasses in the store ignited.  Asher and Hudson made their way out, but Travers failed.  His body was found in debris near the front of the building.
    Rybkowski was booked on suspicion of arson pending an investigation.

Los Angeles Times,  November 24, 1947

"Greater Love Hath No Man Than This"

Fireman, Fire Department
City of Los Angeles

  Born December 23, 1915;  appointed to the department March 28, 1942 and died November 23, 1947.  Fireman Travers was burned to death in a fire which occurred at 2:20 a.m. November 23, 1947 at 1315 Wilshire Boulevard.  This member gave his life heroically performing his duties and in the best tradition of the Los Angeles Fire Department.



I N  M E M O R I A M

HUGH J. TRAVERS  Fireman on active duty at Salvage 28 B was killed November 23, 1947 while fighting a fire in a Wilshire Blvd. furniture store.  Born in South Dakota December 23, 1915.  Appointed fireman Los Angeles Fire Department March 28, 1942.   Went on Military Leave in the latter part of 1942 and served with the United States Army Air Forces.  Returned to the Fire Department in 1945.  Funeral services held November 25, 1947 at the Utter McKinley Cresse Mortuary in Eagle Rock with Chaplain Joseph R. Hoffman officiating.  Interment in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

The Firemen's Grape Vine                                                           December 1947

The Harold Furniture Company Fire
1315 Wilshire Boulevard

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