The Fallen

Dedicated to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice.

Hugh “Bill” Rudolph

Hugh “Bill” Rudolph, Juneau Fire Department, June 4, 1946

Juneau Firefighter Bill Rudolph suffered severe head injuries, and subsequently died, after falling from a 20 ft. ladder while carrying a hose.

From the Daily Alaska Empire newspaper in Juneau on Wednesday, May 29, 1946 is the following article.

Repeat calls to quench a fire on the roof of the Perelle apartments here, last evening resulted in little damage to the building but brought a nasty spill to Juneau Volunteer Fireman Bill Rudolph.

Rudolph fell approximately 20 ft off a ladder up which he was helping to carry a fire hose. He landed on his head and was knocked unconscious for some minutes. Dr. William Whitehead was called from his home to treat. Rudolph was taken to St. Ann’s Hospital for examination which revealed no injuries beyond bruises and a bad shaking up. Rudolph returned to his home later that evening.

Subsequent newspaper articles indicate that later the next day Mrs. Rudolph returned home from work and was unable to rouse her husband who had apparently lapsed into unconsciousness during the night. He was re-admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a skull fracture.

Bill Rudolph died approximately a week later on June 4, 1946 at the age of 36. He was honored in an impressive funeral on June 7, 1946. At this funeral Bill made his last ride atop a fire truck on which he had often ridden to protect Juneau. He was escorted by 32 of his fellow firefighters, and countless members of the community.

Bill Rudolph’s survivors at the time of his death, in addition to his widow, Mungie Larsen Rudolph, were his parents Mr. and Mrs. C. Rudolph, three sisters and three brothers.

Additional information is available from Capital City Fire/Rescue and the newspaper archives of the Daily Alaska Empire