The Philadelphia Bureau of Fire battled one of the toughest fires in its history on June 21, 1939. Engine 50 found heavy smoke coming from the six-story building occupied by the Miller North Broad Storage Company at 2709-13 N. Broad Street in response to Box 5215 at 5:45 AM. Five alarms were needed to bring the fire under control.
The building featured concrete floors and a concrete roof. There were few windows on the upper floors. To effect ventilation, members had to use drills and sledge hammers to breach the cement. A total of one hundred and fifty members were injured, including all eight members of Engine 27, all seven members of Engine 5, and six of seven members of Engine 45.
Captain John Brady of Engine 45 was overcome with smoke four times. Three times he returned to the fire ground after being treated. After the fourth time, he was admitted to Temple Hospital.
Miller North Broad Storage, advertised their building as being fireproof. Unfortunately, the contents weren’t.