WILLIAM HENRY SMITH was born on March 23, 1936 in Anderson, South Carolina to Len and Bertha Smith. By April of 1940 the Smith family, which included sisters Ethel and Lennie, had moved to 143 Spruce Street in South Camden. Len Smith then worked as a construction laborer. The family is listed at that address in the 1943 Directory. By the time the 1947 edition was compiled, they had moved to 226 Line Street.

William Henry Smith served in the United States Army from August 9, 1956 through September of 1959. He worked for RCA for three years and one month as a Class X Tester, and for the Univac Corporation in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania for two years and five months as an assembler. 

On June 29, 1965 William Henry Smith was appointed to the Camden Fire Department. He was promoted to Captain on November 4, 1982. After completing over 29 years of service, Captain Smith retired on pension on October 1, 1994.

Last a resident of Lawnside, New Jersey William Henry 

Smith passed away on July 27, 2014. He was interred at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden. He was survived by his wife Loree, three children and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

Camden Courier-Post * August 18, 1975

Fatal fire truck crash is blamed on their sirens

Courier-Post Staff

A Camden f ire official said he believes Saturday's collision of two fire trucks that killed one person and injured 14 others was caused by the inability of the drivers to hear each other‘s vehicle over their own sirens.

However. Acting First Battalion Chief Joseph Anderson stressed that he was only “theorizing" and that a full investigation of the crash would begin today. The two trucks, Engines One and Eight, collided at 6th and Pine Streets at about 5:15 pm, Saturday, Anderson said.

The impact of the crash sent Engine Eight, which was heading north on 6th Street, into the Livecchi grocery store while Engine One, which was head ing east on Pine Street, stopped safely about one block north on 6th Street, Anderson said.

The two vehicles were en route to the scene of a minor fire in a vacant house about two blocks from the scene of the collision. Anderson said another truck was called to extinguish the blaze.

Dead was 65-year-old Wilkins Tisdale, of 583 Line Street, Camden, according to Blair M. Murphy, an investigator for the Camden County Medical Examiner’s office, Murphy said the causes of death were internal injuries and a severed arm.

Tisdale, a retired construction worker who had just walked out of the grocery store, was pinned for 90 minutes under a large freezer in the store, Anderson said.

Juanita Dorsey, 34, 704 Pine Street Camden, who had been standing inside the store, was pinned under the freezer when it was hit by the truck, Anderson said. The woman was listed in satisfactory condition in Cooper Hospital with back injuries.

Richard Sorenson, a hoseman for Engine Eight, was in critical condition at Cooper with a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken nose, right shoulder and right arm.

Paul Delfing. driver of Engine One, and James Peterson, driver of Engine Eight, were both pinned inside the cabs of their vehicles for 20 minutes, and 

 later treated and released from Cooper for head and facial injuries, Anderson said.

Sorenson and five other firemen on the two trucks were all thrown from them by the crash. The other firemen injured were Joseph Chelhowski, captain of Engine Eight, who was in satisfactory condition in West Jersey Hospital, Northern Division with ankle injuries and bruises.

Albert Collum, captain of Engine One, who was in stable condition at Cooper with a concussion, a broken finger, contusions and bruises.

William Smith, a hoseman for Engine Eight, who was being held for observation at or Lady of Lourdes Hospital with head and facial cuts and bruises.

John Asher, a hoseman for Engine One, and Paul Capazola, a hoseman for Engine Eight, who were treated and released from Cooper for cuts and bruises.

Five other persons were injured, none seriously, in the crash. One, Leonard Medford, of 611 Line Street, Camden, was in satisfactory condition at Cooper Hospital with leg injuries. The others were all treated and released from Cooper and Lourdes hospitals.

Anderson said the diesel engines of the two trucks both received “extensive" damage and that he did not know if the eight-year-old trucks, which he said usually last 15 years, could be used again.

Chief Edward V. Michalak said the department has pressed two of its older, auxiliary pumpers into service to keep the city's nine engine companies and three ladder companies at full strength.

Michalak said, however, that the two trucks damaged were among the newest the City owned.

Although he would put no dollar estimate on the damages, he said they were “excessive" and that it would not be known until at least Tuesday whether they could be repaired.

The city will not be receiving any new fire trucks until next April, when delivery of four pumpers is expected.

Although the city has experienced fire truck mishaps before, the chief, a 33-year veteran of the force, said this was the most serious.

He would not comment on the cause of the accident pending completion of the department's investigation.

Camden Courier-Post
August 18, 1975

SPECTATORS peer solemnly at Camden fire truck that crashed into corner grocery at 6th and Pine Street, Camden killing one man and injuring 14 other persons after collision with another fire truck at intersection

Camden Courier-Post
August 18, 1975

CAB of fire engine lies atop freezer where it came to rest after slamming through grocery store wall

Camden Courier-Post * August 22, 1975

Council Checking Into Crash

Courier-Post Staff

The brakes on one Camden fire engine will be examined by a specialist to see whether brake failure was responsible for Saturday’s collision of two fire trucks in which one man was killed and l4 persons injured.

However. Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Jiannetto. appearing before Camden City Council Thursday. said he felt the possibility of brake failure was remote because Engine No. 8 is safeguarded by a complex triple-brake system.

Jiannetto said James Peterson, the driver for Engine Co. No. 8. reported he believed the brakes on his vehicle failed to function when he saw Engine Co. No. 1 emerge from a cross-street.

The collision occurred at 6th and Pine Streets as both fire companies were responding to a house fire about two blocks north of the accident scene. The crash sent Engine No. 8 through the wall of Livecchi's Grocery at 601 Pine Street, killing Wilkins Tisdale, 65, a shopper emerging from the store at the time.

Engine No. 8 was traveling north on 6th, which is a through street. while Engine No. 1 was headed east on Pine for 7th Street, where the driver planned to turn north to the fire scene.

Both captains reported their vehicles were traveling at a relatively slow rate of speed, and that buildings at the corners of 6th and Pine obscured their view.

There was also speculation that the drivers were unable to hear each other approach became of the none from their own sirens.

So far, fire and police department investigators have not yet fixed blame on either driver, according to Public Safety Director David Kelly.

Jiannetto said representatives from Ward Lafrance Co., manufacturers of
the two eight-year-old vehicles, have told them Engine No. 1 was demolished, but Engine No. 8 may be repairable.

Martin McKernan, city attorney, said the city carries $250 deductible collision insurance on both vehicles, and said the city is also covered by liability insurance concerning the injuries and damages caused to those outside the department.

Still hospitalized are:

Juanita Dorsey, 34, of 704 Pine Street, listed in fair condition at Cooper Hospital with back injuries.

Leonard Medford, of 611 Line Street, listed in fair condition at Cooper with leg injuries.

Richard Sorenson. a hoseman for Co. No.8, listed in serious condition at
Cooper with a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken nose, shoulder and arm.

William Smith, also a hoseman for Co. No. 8. listed in satisfactory condition at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital with head and facial cuts.


Camden Courier-Post * July 31, 2014

William Henry Smith
AGE: 78 • Lawnside

Born March 23, 1936, departed this life on Sunday July 27, 2014. He is survived by his beloved wife Loree Smith, 3 sister- in laws, 2 brothers-in- laws, three children, Linda Holloway, Curtis Wilson and William Smith Jr., one daughter-in law, Darcella Mercer- Wilson, seven grand- children, Shabrina Holloway, Tahira Holloway, Christina Wilson, Cassandra Wilson, Tori Jones, William Smith III, and Theresa Jones. Eleven great-grand- children Kamar Jones, Kimora Jones, Hassan Henderson, Haniyah Washington , Haneef Jones , Neveah Tate, Trenace Holloway, Linda Ingram, Kayla Ingram, Briana Ingram and Jayla Williamson. A host of nieces including Yolanda and Zionnei, nephews, relatives and friends including a special thank you to Jimmy and Crystal Lee. Service Sat (8/2) 11AM at Grace Temple Baptist Church, 15 E. Charleston Ave., Lawnside, NJ. View 9-11AM. Int at Harleigh Cem. Ministry of Comfort Entrusted to May Funeral Home.