His wife Selma and mother Mary.
On the morning of the incident, numerous firefighters had responded to a fire in the basement of the Condie-Neal Glass Company at 2500 North Broadway. Firefighter Koester volunteered to slide down the elevator cable and search for the fire. He was then to summon other firefighters as to the location of the fire. When he did not return, firefighters attempted to locate him but each time the did they were pushed back by toxic fumes. Holes were eventually cut through walls and firefighters entered the basement covering their faces with wet towels. They found Firefighter Koester dead in three feet of water twenty feet from the elevator shaft after he had been overcome by the fumes and drowned. Ten other firefighters were injured. It was believed that a chemical compound used in cleaning glass was thought to have caused the fumes.
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