Below are some of the storm-related deaths in New England during the Blizzard of '78.
Captain Frank Quirk (a 49 year-old father of three), Charlie Bucko (29, Gloucester), a former Purple Heart Marine, Kenny Fuller (34, Rockport), Don Curley (35, Gloucester) and Don Wilkinson (36, Rockport) all died aboard the Can Do in Salem Harbor.
It was a brave and most tragic attempted rescue in Salem Harbor where the Greek oil tanker, the Good Hope, had issued a mayday call for help. Receiving word of the tanker’s troubles decorated Captain Frank Quirk and his crew boarded the 42-foot Coast Guard boat, the Can Do, to head out into the storm. Quirk and Charlie Bucko had won the Mariner's Medal for heroism at sea for another rescue the year before.
But the blizzard soon picked up steam and buffeted by winds of up to 110 miles per hour, things became more precarious. At 3:30 AM, Quirk's final radio transmission came in: “Will hold on. Sure wish we could raise some power. It's really hopping out here, but we're making it." But by then, the blizzard had wrecked the Can Do's radar system and smashed through the windshield, wiping out the electrical system. All 5 crew members were lost.
In Hanson, 15 year-old Donna Lee Porter was electrocuted when she stepped on a snow-covered 8,000-volt live wire as she waked with friends from a shopping center. (Patriot Ledger)
Ronald Thompson, 38 of Milford, MA, was killed by an out-of-control car on Route 128 in Dedham. He had been out fixing potholes. (Boston Herald)
In Winchester, 11 year-old Matthew Lawton and 12 year-old John Gangi, were shoveling out a car in the Lawton driveway when they decided to crawl inside and start the engine for warmth. They did not know to knock the snow from the car's tailpipe first and soon died of carbon monoxide poisoning. (Boston Globe)
64 year-old Max Fishman of Blakely Circle, Randolph was shot in the head and killed on February 10th while attempting to deliver oil near 33 Wyoming Street in Roxbury. He was the co-owner of George's Fuel Company, a World War II veteran and an auxiliary officer for the Randolph Police Department. Fishman had been standing in the middle of the street around 1pm waiting for his helper to return when he was shot at close range during an attempted hold-up. 21 year-old Hubert Smith got life while 15 year-old Gerald Hill pleaded 2nd degree murder. (Boston Globe)
Do you know of others lost during the Blizzard of 78? Let us know so we can remember their lives on this page.
20 year-old Norman Cardin of Millbury died of asphyxiation in his snow-covered car on Route 290 in Shrewsbury. Cardin was found wrapped in a blanket with his head on a pillow. He had left work on February 6th to head for a friend's home in Worcester. His car was completely buried except for the antenna. (Boston Globe)
In Scituate, 17 foot high waves swept five year-old Amy Lanzikos to her death just as she was being rescued near her home on Jericho Road. The wave knocked the fire fighter's rescue boat around and Amy went over the side with her mother. Fire fighters were able to rescue her mother and Edward Hart's wife Alice, but Amy was lost to the sea as well as Eddie Hart (see below). (Time, Boston Globe)
61 year-old Melvin Demit was lighting a furnace in his basement in Nahant when water crashed into the house and engulfed him in flames. (Time)
Marie Jennings and Claire Young of Canton died on Route 128. Jennings had taken Young to her cancer treatment at Pondville Hospital in Norfolk early Monday afternoon. They got stuck in a snowdrift on the access road on the way home and didn't know that snow had clogged the car's tail pipe. They died of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were discovered by a snowplow operator in Norwood on Monday morning.
58 year-old fire fighter John McDonough died of a heart attack while fighting a blaze at South Station. He died at Mass General about 5pm on the 7th.
4 year-old Marin Osario and 5 year-old Cynthia Santiago died in a 5 alarm fire that struck 4 buildings on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain. 2 of the buildings were completely destroyed. Two other children were thrown from a second story window into deep snow drifts but were unharmed. National Guardsman and Lt. Colonel David Gavigan of Kingston told the Boston Globe, "I had men trying to get into the building, and they had fire falling on them in an alley, and they could hear the kids screaming."
Peter Gosselin, a 10 year-old boy from Uxbridge was found buried in a snow bank along the breezeway just 3 feet from his home. He had been missing for 3 weeks. An autopsy showed he had suffered a concussion. A search party that included as many as 3,000 people at various times had been looking for Gosselin throughout the neighborhood since his disappearance. Mailman Leo Lussier saw the tip of his boot and glove sticking out of a snow bank and immediately called the police.
Gosselin had last been seen about noon on February 7th standing on a 10-foot snow bank as the storm was dying out. When he didn't come home, his older brothers went out to look for him. His father believed that his son must have come home been flipped himself over the railing in a playful gesture. The concussion revealed in the autopsy suggests that the boy fell into the snow bank after perhaps hitting his head on the railing. He died of asphyxiation.
Teamster, butcher and truck driver Eddie Hart was drowned in Scituate off Jericho Road. A National Guard helicopter searched for Hart, who had been wearing a bright yellow jacket, however his body was not found until April, caught in the town floats. He had been with his wife Alice in a firefighter's rescue boat when it was spun around by a wave that knocked 4 passengers overboard. (Boston Globe, Hullnasket)
62 year-old Mary Mullen of South Boston turned the gas stove on in her apartment and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
17 year-old Daniel Scadding died in his car in Watertown.