Fireman Lee Howe was the first firefighter under the paid system to die in the line of duty in the City of Newport.
Fireman Howe was standing on the running board of Truck No. 1 as it responded to a still alarm at Fourth & Berry Streets. As the truck approached Fourth and Washington, it collided with a Fort Thomas-bound street car. Joseph Maus, the driver, was thrown to the street and escaped with only bruises. The steersman, Ben Graham, was also thrown from the truck and suffered a dislocated leg as well as internal injuries.
According to a Kentucky Post article from the period, Howe was “Spell bound with fright” and failed to “jump or make any effort to save himself.” His body took the full brunt of the impact. Fireman Howe's skull was crushed and “an operation to trephine the skull was undertaken at Speers Hospital in Dayton, KY.”
Fireman Howe never recovered and died from his injuries on Monday, February 22, 1904 at 8:55pm. He was 27 years old.
According to another Kentucky Post article, “Howe's death is a sad one. His mother and father are both dead, and, being the oldest member of the family, it fell upon him to take care of the rest of the orphans. He did his duty to his family nobly, and to the latter his life was devoted, depriving himself of many things in order to give to his brothers and sisters.” Fireman Howe is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky.
Theimage on the prior page shows the result of the wreck. This image is looking towards the Southwest corner of Fourth & Washington Streets.
from the Facebook Page of Old Photos of Newport. They cite the image as being from Newport Fire Department/Jim Bonar Collection