In January, Edward Burrell, a career firefighter with the Brockton (Massachusetts) Fire Department, died at the age of 99. He'd been with the city's fire department for 40 years, 16 of them as chief.
One of the most memorable and harrowing nights of his career occurred in 1941, when Burrell was 26 and a member of a firefighting crew that responded to a blaze at the city's Strand Theatre. A roof collapse killed 13 Brockton firefighters and injured 17 more, making it one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history in terms of firefighter deaths. Burrell narrowly avoided the calamity, later telling a reporter that it was "just an act of God" that he was spared.