Keating, Rufus

Time of service: Unknown - Unknown

LODD: Jan. 19, 1894

Associated companies: Halifax Fire Department , Union Engine Company

Rufus Keating
Rufus Keating was injured while fighting the William Stairs, Son & Morrow fire on August 21st, 1893 at 24 Allen Street. He had the dubious distinction of being the last Halifax volunteer fireman killed in the line of duty before the re-organization in 1896 of the fire services into the Halifax Fire Department. He was 32 years old and was a hoseman for Union Engine Company. As of February 11, 1891, he was attached to the No. 7 Hand Division (hand-pumped engine).
The Halifax Herald stated that "[w]hile five men of No. 7 were at work on a ladder on Water street, it fell. The force of water striking the sides of the building with so sudden a shock that the ladder was thrown sideways from the building. One fireman named Rufus Keating descended upon the top of a sharp picket fence which encloses the passageway to the south of the building. Keating was terribly injured, one of the pickets penetrating the poor man's neck. He was rendered insensible and picked up for dead. At 4 o'clock the Victoria hospital says he is resting quietly, and there are hopes he may recover."
He was impaled under the chin by an iron gate spike. He miraculously survived, but died in January 1894 from complications associated with the fall. It was determined the immediate cause of death was the cutting of the chords of the neck, resulting in what may be termed a “slow process of strangulation.” The Keating monument was unveiled on November 25, 1894.
Rufus Keating’s death certificate lists the cause of death as “Paralysis of the respiratory Muscles,” and also shows that he was a carpenter. He was single.

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