Frederick H. Lepper 1817 - 1858

Second Toronto Firefighter to Die in the Line of Duty

By 2:00 am on Thursday April 8,  1858, a fire had started in an Adelaide Street tavern and bakehouse after an oven was accidentally left on. The fire spread rapidly and the other occupants of the building barely had time to escape.

In 1858, the population of Toronto was around 40,000 and fires were fought by volunteer brigades.

The Engine Company 6 (at Bay and Temperance) responded to the alarm with other companies. The fire was so strong that the four buildings it had spread to could not be saved. It was determined that the firefighters main goal should be to protect the adjacent block.

A few firefighters from Company 6 were dousing the fire from the sidewalk when, without warning, a chimney collapsed. Firefighter Fred Lepper was hit by bricks and was seriously injured. Despite being treated on location, he died at 6:00 am.

Lepper was 41 and originally from Ireland. He left behind his wife Elisabeth and several young children.

His funeral service took place on Saturday April 10, 1858, and his remains were brought to Cabbagetown’s St. James Cemetery.

Frederick Lepper is the second Toronto firefighter to die in the line of duty.


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