On December 7, 1968, Chicago Fire Department Firefighter Gary Descher was fatally injured in the line of duty while fighting a fire at a bowling alley on N. Spaulding Avenue. Descher, a seven-year veteran of Hook and Ladder 38, was operating on the roof of the burning building when the truss roof collapsed. Descher fell into the burning building and was presumed dead, but was recovered from the burning ruins four hours later. He was treated for burns and internal injuries at Belmont Hospital, where he died three days after the fire.
He was survived by his wife and four children.