Piece of KAKE-1968

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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It was November 21st when fire broke out at Yingling Chevrolet in downtown Wichita. In a matter of minutes the roof of the building collapsed, trapping six firefighters inside. Only two of them made it out.

Four Wichita firefighters died in the fire, including Chief Tom McGaughy. The night was also his 36th wedding anniversary. The fire killed chief inspector Merle Wells and firefighters Dale Mishler and Jimmy Austin.

KAKE reporter Jack Burns summed up the mood of a mourning city. "A horrible tragedy for the families of the firefighters lost in the flaming holocaust, a horrible tragedy for the city of Wichita."

Chief McGaughy is remembered with an annual award given to Kansas firefighters whose bravery and courage goes above the call of duty.

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