San Francisco History

Fall from Firth Wheel


Fatal Fall of Rigger James Bain at the Park.

While the Mechanism Was Being Removed a Beam Slipped—The Victim's Daring Record.

James Bain, a rigger, feel from the Firth wheel at the Midwinter Fair grounds yesterday and was killed.

Bain was walking across the wheel on a beam when the flimsy structure swayed in the wind and precipitated him upon a pile of debris thirty feet below. He was removed to Cooper's Hotel at Eighth avenue and D street, where he died shortly afterward.

There was no more self-confident nor daring rigger in San Francisco than Bain. At one time, when a terrific storm threatened the big search-light of the electric tower, he bravely climbed the iron web and at imminent risk of life lashed down securely the great reflector. He performed a great deal of the work on finials of the fiar. Much of the Firth wheel was put together by him, and he was chosen to take it down for removal to Sutro Heights. His work yesterday consisted of marking certain parts with paint to guide mechanics in taking the wheel asunder.

Bain was a middle-aged man and lived with his family at Twenty-fourth and Castro streets.

Source: Morning Call, 16 January 1895, page 10.


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