- 30 years old
- Date of birth: Apr 30, 1964
- Date of passing: Aug 27, 1994
Paul A. MacMurray August 27, 1994 The following is a summary of the incident and of the commitment made by Paul A. “Orville” MacMurray. Paul A. “Orville” MacMurray, an 11-year veteran of the Hudson Falls Fire Department, Made the ultimate sacrifice at a fire in the Parkview Hotel, a Three-story, 45-room edifice, on August 27, 1994. This tragic tale of a true American hero begins at 1958 hours on Saturday August 27, 1994. Paul, along with his wife, Esther, and three children, Kristen, 10, Angela, 7, Katlyn, 4, and others were celebrating one of the girl’s birthday when the alarm of fire was sounded by Washington County Fire Control for "Box 22" the Parkview Hotel located at 140 Main Street in the Village of Hudson Falls, NY. Upon arriving on the scene at 2003 hours as part of the first alarm assignment, Firefighter MacMurray, a member of Engine Co. 362, and Firefighter Thomas Center, a member of Truck Co. 363, were detailed by Chief John J. Santa Croce to conduct a primary search of the second floor of the hotel. Chief Santa Croce and Second Assistant Chief Paul M. Dietrich, the first arriving officers on the scene, had sized up the situation and, finding fire in the rear of the 95-year old structure, decided to institute immediate primary search for occupants and aggressively attack the fire to prevent the spread of the conflagration. Firefighters MacMurray and Center, equipped with complete turnout gear and wearing SCBA’s, proceeded to the second floor to begin the search and rescue operation. They encountered a light smoke condition described as similar to “food on the stove,” with very little heat present. In a professional manner, and using their many years of experience and training, MacMurray and Center successfully removed several occupants and returned to the second floor to continue the primary search. As they climbed the stairway to the second floor and advanced along the hallway, Paul and Tom encountered heavy thick smoke and a rapid buildup of heat. As the situation got worse, building up to “flashover” conditions, Firefighters MacMurray and Center made the decision to leave the second floor. While they were retreating, flashover occurred and physical contact was lost between the two. Firefighter Center had located the center stairwell, realized that Paul was not with him and made a desperate attempt to reestablish contact and guide Paul safely down the stairs. After searching as long as conditions permitted, Tom descended the stairs and made contact with the Firefighters on the first floor to advise them of the situation. Immediately upon receiving word that Firefighter MacMurray was down, a second search team tried to gain access to the second floor, but they were driven back by the rapidly moving inferno, and the decision was made by command that an exterior entry be made. The building was laddered and an attempt was made to gain access through the balcony. Again Firefighters were driven back by the intense flames and heavy smoke. The orders passed at this time from command to evacuate the building. All interior forces were withdrawn, and the mode was shifted to defensive. The fire was spreading throughout the structure with incredible speed. The fire continued well into the early hours of Sunday, August 28, and heavy equipment was needed to continue the search for Firefighter MacMurray. The body of Firefighter MacMurray was finally located at 1830 hours. On Monday morning, August 29, 1994, an unemployed drifter and two month resident of the Parkview Hotel, admitted to intentionally setting the fire that resulted in the death of Firefighter Paul MacMurray. On Friday, March 1, 1995, the individual was sentenced to a maximum prison term of 25 years to life for the arson and murder of Paul MacMurray. Firefighter Paul A. MacMurray, who unselfishly answered his final alarm on August 27, 1994, at the Parkview Hotel, is the epitome of the volunteer fire service. Leaving his daughter’s birthday party to answer the alarm, he paid the ultimate price for his dedication to the citizens of Hudson Falls. Donning an SCBA and entering a burning building on the floor above the fire is a heroic act of bravery, the most dangerous situation that a Firefighter will encounter. Paul did not hesitate to take this risk, and along with Tom entered the building to aid the victims of this heinous disaster.
"RIP Paul, thank you for your service."
Leave a Tribute:
Have a suggestion for us?