Department of Public Safety

Remembering Captain Thomas Targee

Firefighter killed during the Great Fire of 1849

January 1, 2012 | 2 min reading time

This article is 10 years old. It was published on January 1, 2012.

Members of the Targee Family, descendents of Capt. Thomas Targee, a St. Louis firefighter who was killed in the line of duty during the Great Fire of 1849, visited Fire HQ last month and presented the Department with photos of Targee to be added to a display in his honor.

During the Great Fire of 1849, more than 20 riverboats and 430 buildings were destroyed.

Targee was killed near where the Gateway Arch now stands while detonating an explosive device to create a fire break and prevent additional buildings from catching fire.  The device exploded prematurely, killing the 41-year-old.

As part of the visit by the Targee Family, the existing display in Targee's honor was rededicated and the Department added to the display a light salvaged from a fire boat named in Targee's honor.


Dept. of Public Safety
City of St. Louis