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Stephen Earl Murphy


Lieutenant Murphy responded to a fire in a row house dwelling. He carried a sixteen-foot portable ladder to the rear of the structure, raised the ladder, broke out windows, climbed the ladder, and entered a bedroom. Other firefighters who ascended the ladder reported seeing Lieutenant Murphy in the bedroom. He ordered them to proceed into the structure and continue ventilation. When the firefighters returned to the bedroom, they found Lieutenant Murphy face down and unresponsive suffering from an apparent heart attack. Emergency medical treatment was initiated and Lieutenant Murphy was transported to the hospital where a heartbeat was restored. Lieutenant Murphy died on February 3, 1998. The cause of the fire was ruled accidental as a result of a portable kerosene heater placed too close to combustibles. Lieutenant Murphy was not wearing an SCBA.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Stephen Earl Murphy was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

Philadelphia Fire Department
240 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123-2991

Chief: Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston

View NIOSH Report

Age: 47
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident date: January 27, 1998
Date of death: February 3, 1998
Cause of death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of death: Heart Attack
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential

Last updated: January 10, 2018