Van Tassel Explosion

Van Tassel Explosion

Plaque sponsored by the City of Norwich

Located at Central Headquarters on West Main Street

In 1962, a terrible explosion took the lives of four uniformed Norwich firemen. It was the worst loss of lives in the history of Connecticut among firemen at a single fire.

Today, at Central Fire Headquarters, there is a monument to the memory of Captain William J. Sheridan, Fireman Carl J. Burke, Fireman Leonard M. Counihan and Fireman Edward Romano who gave their lives in the performance of their duties at the Van Tassell Warehouse fire on April 3, 1962.

A historic photo of the event, taken by Bob Dick, then photographer for The Norwich Bulletin, shows Fireman Thomas LaFreniere, who survived the explosion, heading back into the fire to rescue his buddies. He was suffering severe shock, and Police Sgt, John Sisco was able to overtake LaFreniere and escort him to safety.

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