James H. McGroarty

Fire Investigator

Fire Investigator McGroarty was in the attic of a residential structure that had experienced a fire five days prior. A private fire investigator and an electrical consultant were also in the attic with Investigator McGroarty. During the course of the investigation a chimney, which had been supported by the roof prior to the fire, collapsed onto Investigator McGroarty and inflicted severe injuries. The chimney was too heavy for the personnel on the scene to lift and it stayed in place until additional personnel arrived. Medical treatment was initiated immediately after Investigator McGroarty was freed and was continued at the hospital, to no avail. The cause of death on the autopsy was listed as multiple injuries due to falling debris from a recent fire. Additional information about this incident can be found in NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation 99-F-06.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
James H. McGroarty 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

Syracuse Fire Department
511 South State Street

Syracuse, New York 13202

Chief: Robert Nelson

View NIOSH Report

Age: 43
Rank: Fire Investigator
Classification: Career
Incident date: January 19, 1999 12:50
Date of death: January 19, 1999
Cause of death: Struck By
Nature of death: Trauma
Activity type: Support
Emergency duty: No
Duty type: Other On-Duty
Fixed property use: Residential

Watch America’s Tribute to Fallen Firefighters

Honoring line-of-duty deaths in 2019