|- Engine Company 9||- Ladder Company 6|
|- E9 Quarters||- L6 Quarters|
|September 14, 1875|
At The Tweed Plaza, Canal St. and East Broadway
An Aerial Ladder was to be tested. Several public trials of the Invention had been given and the dangerous character of the Invention had been commented on. On one occasion when one of the Ladders appeared to be ready to topple over, Chief Bates prevented it by slashing a line, which carried to the top of the Ladder. (editor's note: Chief Eli Bates was Chief of Department in 1875.)
The final experiment was made on the Plaza, in the presence of a vast crowd and many Firemen and others interested in such matters. The Ladder was raised in eight sections to a height of 97 feet and Chief William H. Nash of the 4th Battalion ascended followed by Firefighter Philip J. Maus of Hook and Ladder 6, Firefighter William Hughes of Engine 9, four other Firemen and a Lieutenant.
Chief Nash had reached the summit of the Ladder when it snapped far below him and dashed Nash, Maus and Hughes, who were above the fracture, to the cobble stones of the square. Nash and Maus were instantly killed and Hughes died within an hour. No one else was injured.
The accident revived gossip which charged there was a corrupt understanding with the inventor and the payment from the City of $25,000 (editor's note: that's a huge sum of money in 1875!) for his Patented Rights. Public indignation ran to an intense pitch. The Fire Commissioners promptly shut down the Aerial Business.
September 15th Commissioner King offered a Resolution which was adopted prohibiting the further use of Aerial Ladders as it had been demonstrated they were useless and there was good reason to believe that the Invention was foisted on the Department at an enormous expense and by corrupt means.
Chief Nash was buried form 149 Clinton Street and his Funeral was attended by six Companies formed of details from the various Battalions. Maus was buried from 159-1/2 Essex Street and Hughes from No.10 Monroe Street.