On June 1, 1967, Battalion Chief John P. Spellman of Chicago Fire Department Battalion 7, died in the line of duty during a multi-structure fire near the intersection of 17th Street and South Racine Avenue. The fire started in a garage, but quickly spread to two adjacent apartment buildings. After arriving on scene, Spellman was helping firefighters from Truck 5 place a ground ladder when the aluminum ladder hit high tension wires. Spellman was electrocuted and collapsed.
Battalion Chief Spellman was survived by his wife and five children.