RUMPF, EDGAR J

Popular

Description

EDGAR J RUMPF
1-E: 11
End of Watch: February 16, 1978
Baltimore City, Maryland, P.D.


Smoke was pouring out of the windows of a second floor apartment at 1526 Park Avenue, when alert Central District officers noticed this and called for the Fire Department. Several officers, including Officer Edgar Rumpf, bravely began to go door to door in an effort to alert residents, saving countless lives. Fire apparatus began to arrive and immediately called for others. As quick as it began, the fire required a third alarm. By 1430 hours, the fire was a six alarm blaze. It reached nine alarms before being brought under control. On the Central District radio frequency, officers could be heard checking with each other, assuring the building was being cleared. Then came a call from Officer Edgar Rumpf, one of the two officers assigned to 134 car. He was trapped in an elevator and there was no way to reach him. To their credit, firefighters followed screens of water through the burning building in a vain effort to locate Officer Edgar Rumpf, often greatly risking their own lives. After repeated attempts in which they firefighters found themselves completely encircled by flames, the reality of the situation was clear, there could be no more rescue effort. A roll call was conducted on the radio in the hope that Officer Rumpf might have made it safety, but after several attempts, Officer Rumpf could not be raised. He was found the next morning.

 

Devider

 

On this day in Baltimore Police History 1978 we lost our brother Officer Edgar James Rumpf, Jr. to an apartment fire based on the following;

Officer Edgar James Rumpf, Jr. died in the Beethoven North Apartments fire after leading two children to safety, he was buried by a priest who instructed the hero's family, and fellow policemen about love.

The Rev. Robert C. Callahan, celebrating the mass of Christian burial at Christ the King Catholic Church in Dundalk, derived his eulogy from words of St. Paul.


He said to the mourners:

"Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. It does not put on airs. It is not snobbish. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking, nor is it prone to anger, or prone to be injurious." Telling the mourners that, "There are, No limits to God's Love," Father Callahan added softly of the fallen officer: "Perhaps even the men who knew him well didn’t fully appreciate the depths of his love." After the 33-year-old officer was buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Father Callahan told a reporter:


"I don't like to be long-winded, and I'm capable of that. But I wanted to tell them that because Jimmy sacrificed his life, they all had something to be proud of. He gave up his life for people as an act of perfect love."

Officer Rumpf, was the 81st officer to die in the line of duty. Since 1808, Officer Rumph was the first, according to departmental records, to have died responding to a fire. He radioed headquarters after seeing smoke billow from the Bolton Hill apartment building, his colleagues reported, “He then rushed inside to escort residents from the structure.” The police officer was known to have led two children to safety, then apparently re-entered the Beethoven in search of other tenants.

Officials accounted for all who had been in the building when the fire started but they listed Officer Rumpf as missing. His body was found Thursday morning in the pit of an elevator shaft.

In his eulogy, Father Callahan, 47, made an effort to console the officer's family and the more than 300 police officers in attendance-each perhaps wondering if it could have been his or her funeral instead. Public officials also helped pack the Catholic church in the 300 block Sollers Point road. After the 35-minute mass, acting Governor Lee said be bad been touched by the service, which he termed "so- sad but a beautiful funeral" Mr. Lee said Officer Rumpf, with a reputation for quiet and unspectacular diligence during his seven years on the force, remained an unsung hero until his death. "You never know bow men respond until an act occurs to show heroism,'' be said. "Some men respond and some men don't. This man responded beautifully.'' When Officer Rumpfs body was found, his service revolver was recovered but his badge and cap emblem were missing. They still have not been found. His commander, Maj. Harwood W. Burritt, Jr., of Central District, said at the graveside that Officer Rumpf therefore had to be buried without them, although replicas will be made and delivered to his widow, Judy Ann. Mrs. Rumpf, who entered the church on the arms of a police officer as she clutched a color portrait of her husband, sat quietly during Father Callahan's eulogy.

Her children, Peter C., 4, and Clinton J., 8 months, were not present. At the grave, escorted by her mother, Mrs. Rumpf sat stoically, still holding the portrait, as a city police honor guard stood at attention arid police pallbearers lifted the 175-pound, gray metal casket with silver-colored maple leafs. Mrs. Rumpf sat silently, not crying, responding to Father Callahan's final prayers, alternately looking down into the grave, then gazing up at the canopy over the site, as a bugler sounded taps.

When Major Burritt presented Mrs. Rumpf the flag from her husband’s casket, she kissed it, then acknowledged sentiments whispered to her by Mayor Schaefer and Donald D. Pomerleau, city police commissioner, as both passed by. She offered a smile to Father Callahan. Then Mrs. Rumpf stood, leaned over the casket, kissed it, and walked away. Father Callahan said later that he had been "working on" obtaining an annulment of Mrs. Rumpf's prior marriage and had recently told the couple that he would be able to officiate at a Catholic church wedding for them "within a few months." "We were trying to get it through and then, of course, Jimmy died,'' be said. The priest said the couple had married at Dundalk Methodist Church. He had officiated at Mrs. Rumpf's first marriage, the priest said, as well as at those of her two brothers, and was close to her entire family. The couple bad moved about a month ago into the 1300 block Broening highway, which meant that they should have been parishioners of St. Rita's Church, But
Father Callahan said that when the word came last Thursday that Officer Rurnpf's body had been found in the aftermath of the nine-alarm fire in which 77 tenants lost their homes, he was called in. The priest said that while no decision had been made yet on support of the family, he hoped a combination of city compensation and support from friends would see the family through until Mrs. Rumpf makes decisions about the future.

"She was in the Air Force for a while," he noted. "She has• a very close-knit and very good family. They stick together. I'm sure they'll all be very realistic." Other public officials who attended the funeral were Walter S Orlinsky, City Council president; Hyman A. Pressman, city comptroller, and William A. Swisher, the state's attorney. None spoke at the service. As the coffin ,was transported by hearse from the church through Dundalk and onto• the Beltway, Baltimore county police closed intersections and Beltway access ramps to allow the mile-long funeral procession to move uninterrupted. They controlled traffic, saluting as they stood at attention, as the motorcade passed by slowly.

As we take this time to remember him, and thank him for his service and sacrifice. We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department will not let him be forgotten. God Bless and rest in Peace.

 

Devider

 

I was the "motorized" footman for Bolton Hill on this terrible day. I had been dispatched to a call on Chase Street and was heading back to 158 post when I heard Ed on the radio reporting that he found smoke coming out of one of the front 2nd floor apartment windows. He requested the Fire Department to respond. By this time I was coming up the hill on Park Ave. and heard someone come across the radio calling for help. They were coughing and obviously from the sound of their voice, in distress. I knew it was Ed.
When I pulled passed the building there were no fire units on the scene. I saw P/O Richard Sprouse brining out some people, as was a mail carrier. There were flames shooting from the front 2nd floor window and again the radio crackled and in a calmer and softer spoken voice I heard coughing and then the word "help". It was Ed.

P/O Steve Ossmus arrived and we entered the stairs on north side of the building. This was the first time I realized I could hear sirens. We went straight to the second floor and attempted to go through the door but as soon as I grabbed the door handle that led to the hall I had to let go. It was too hot to touch. Steve and I tried to open it but to no avail.

He and I ( as foolish as it was) went to the top floor. We opened the stairwell door and found the hall saturated in smoke. The fire alarm was going off and some people were in the hall. We directed them down the stairs we came up. We yelled, banged on doors, and blew our whistles to get some other people to come out of their apartments. Luckily most people had gone to work and only a few remained.

We were in the stairwell of the 3rd floor when some of the ceiling tiles started melting over our heads. We made it outside to find the Fire Department just hooking up their first line. (It was later learned that the fire units on Mc Mechen St just 5 blocks away had responded to a false alarm pulled by a school kid).

As we made it to the front of the building I was shocked to see how much the fire had spread from the time I had arrived. Steve and I were lucky. What a stupid thing we did! But it was to look for Ed.

I stood in a line with many other officers from Sectors 3 and 5 and watched the building burn. It was surreal. I could only hear the Central District dispatcher doing a Sector by Sector roll call. Not once.... But twice. Both times when they called Ed's unit number.... No response. We all knew Ed was gone.

Several days later the building laid in a huge pile of stone and metal. There was a hook and ladder still putting water on the rubble. There was a crane digging in the area of the elevators. They were looking for Ed.

We watched this for a couple more days until the Fire Chief came into the command post and told Major Burritt that they believed they had located Ed at the base of the elevator shaft. I was still the postman and was directed to go to the excavation with the medics for the purpose of identifying the remains.

The pit was filled with water and debris. Obviously the fire personnel had placed the remains on a ledge of debris. I won't provide any further description out of respect for Ed and his family, but I saw that familiar collar of a reefer. The chain was still attached and there was a partial shoulder patch on the partial coat. No doubt about it... It was Ed.

What came next was totally surprising. As I sat in the command post the Fire department brought in some articles they found around Ed. Including the portion of the reefer that I had identified. In looking over the coat where our badge is located was a large melted mass. I'm sure it was Ed's badge that melted from the heat. There was a partially burned left handed gun belt. There was a small part of the holster still attached.

Surprised at the articles they brought in, I was shocked to be handed a wet, tightly compressed roll of paper money. The top and bottom of the bills were scorched. I unrolled the top bill and when I laid it out, you could clearly see scorched parallel lines on the bill. Subsequently I unrolled all of the money and had later learned that it was the same amount of money Ed received when he cashed his pay check earlier on that dreadful day.

Fire personnel then brought in another surprise..... a bucket of coins. They reported that the coins were found at the bottom of the pit with Ed. Deputy Battaglia was on the scene and directed me to respond to ECU with the cash and coins. After it was processed, ECU gave it back to me and directed to go to the Commissioner's Office. When I arrived Commissioner Pomerleau looked at the ECU inventory sheet and then he made a call. I heard him tell the person on the other end of the call how much had been inventoried and that he was sending an officer over to see him. He terminated the call and told me to take the money to the Union Trust Bank across from City Hall and that what ever I received from the manager, I was to immediately take it to the Rumph residence and turn it over to Sgt. Joe Richardson who was with Judy and her family. He was Ed's Sergeant.
At the bank I was taken into the manager's office where he gave me two sealed envelopes. One I'm sure was a check in the amount of the inventoried money. When he gave me the other snowball he said.."This is for the family".
I took the envelopes as direct. I met Sgt. Joe at the door and gave them to him. The house was packed with family and blue uniforms. I have no recollection of the drive back to the command post.
For years Judy Rumph would show up at the station on holidays or special events to bring us food, desserts and her inspirational attitude to survive what life give you. She is a remarkable woman.
What a terrible, terrible week. Every year on this anniversary of Ed's death I say a prayer for him and his family. I then give thanks to GOD for seeing Steve and I safely through our search that day.

Over the years I have had many thoughts on this entire incident. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is that being left handed, knowing he was probably going to die, thinking of his family Ed wrapped his recent pay inside the grasp of his left hand and laid on his left side. This last assumption is supported by the fact that the portions of the gun belt and reefer were from the left side.
Rest in Peace Ed.

Devider color with motto
Smoke was pouring out of the windows of a second floor apartment at 1526 Park Avenue, when alert Central District officers noticed this and called for the Fire Department. Several officers, including Officer Edgar Rumpf, bravely began to go door to door in an effort to alert residents, saving countless lives. Fire apparatus began to arrive and immediately called for others. As quick as it began, the fire required a third alarm. By 1430 hours, the fire was a six alarm blaze. It reached nine alarms before being brought under control. On the Central District radio frequency, officers could be heard checking with each other, assuring the building was being cleared. Then came a call from Officer Edgar Rumpf, one of the two officers assigned to 134 car. He was trapped in an elevator and there was no way to reach him. To their credit, firefighters followed screens of water through the burning building in a vain effort to locate Officer Edgar Rumpf, often greatly risking their own lives. After repeated attempts in which they firefighters found themselves completely encircled by flames, the reality of the situation was clear, there could be no more rescue effort. A roll call was conducted on the radio in the hope that Officer Rumpf might have made it safety, but after several attempts, Officer Rumpf could not be raised. He was found the next morning.

Devider

On this day in Baltimore Police History 1978 we lost our brother Officer Edgar James Rumpf, Jr. to an apartment fire based on the following;
Officer Edgar James Rumpf, Jr. died in the Beethoven North Apartments fire after leading two children to safety, he was buried by a priest who instructed the hero's family, and fellow policemen about love.
The Rev. Robert C. Callahan, celebrating the mass of Christian burial at Christ the King Catholic Church in Dundalk, derived his eulogy from words of St. Paul.
He said to the mourners:
"Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. It does not put on airs. It is not snobbish. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking, nor is it prone to anger, or prone to be injurious." Telling the mourners that, "There are,
No limits to God's Love," Father Callahan added softly of the fallen officer: "Perhaps even the men who knew him well didn’t fully appreciate the depths of his love." After the 33-year-old officer was buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Father Callahan told a reporter:
"I don't like to be long-winded, and I'm capable of that. But I wanted to tell them that because Jimmy sacrificed his life, they all had something to be proud of. He gave up his life for people as an act of perfect love."
Officer Rumpf, was the 81st officer to die in the line of duty. Since 1808, Officer Rumph was the first, according to departmental records, to have died responding to a fire. He radioed headquarters after seeing smoke billow from the Bolton Hill apartment building, his colleagues reported, “He then rushed inside to escort residents from the structure.” The police officer was known to have led two children to safety, then apparently re-entered the Beethoven in search of other tenants.
Officials accounted for all who had been in the building when the fire started but they listed Officer Rumpf as missing. His body was found Thursday morning in the pit of an elevator shaft.
In his eulogy, Father Callahan, 47, made an effort to console the officer's family and the more than 300 police officers in attendance-each perhaps wondering if it could have been his or her funeral instead. Public officials also helped pack the Catholic church in the 300 block Sollers Point road. After the 35-minute mass, acting Governor Lee said be bad been touched by the service, which he termed "so- sad but a beautiful funeral" Mr. Lee said Officer Rumpf, with a reputation for quiet and unspectacular diligence during his seven years on the force, remained an unsung hero until his death. "You never know bow men respond until an act occurs to show heroism,'' be said. "Some men respond and some men don't. This man responded beautifully.'' When Officer Rumpfs body was found, his service revolver was recovered but his badge and cap emblem were missing. They still have not been found. His commander, Maj. Harwood W. Burritt, Jr., of Central District, said at the graveside that Officer Rumpf therefore had to be buried without them, although replicas will be made and delivered to his widow, Judy Ann. Mrs. Rumpf, who entered the church on the arms of a police officer as she clutched a color portrait of her husband, sat quietly during Father Callahan's eulogy.
Her children, Peter C., 4, and Clinton J., 8 months, were not present. At the grave, escorted by her mother, Mrs. Rumpf sat stoically, still holding the portrait, as a city police honor guard stood at attention arid police pallbearers lifted the 175-pound, gray metal casket with silver-colored maple leafs. Mrs. Rumpf sat silently, not crying, responding to Father Callahan's final prayers, alternately looking down into the grave, then gazing up at the canopy over the site, as a bugler sounded taps.
When Major Burritt presented Mrs. Rumpf the flag from her husband’s casket, she kissed it, then acknowledged sentiments whispered to her by Mayor Schaefer and Donald D. Pomerleau, city police commissioner, as both passed by. She offered a smile to Father Callahan. Then Mrs. Rumpf stood, leaned over the casket, kissed it, and walked away. Father Callahan said later that he had been "working on" obtaining an annulment of Mrs. Rumpf's prior marriage and had recently told the couple that he would be able to officiate at a Catholic church wedding for them "within a few months." "We were trying to get it through and then, of course, Jimmy died,'' be said. The priest said the couple had married at Dundalk Methodist Church. He had officiated at Mrs. Rumpf's first marriage, the priest said, as well as at those of her two brothers, and was close to her entire family. The couple bad moved about a month ago into the 1300 block Broening highway, which meant that they should have been parishioners of St. Rita's Church, But
Father Callahan said that when the word came last Thursday that Officer Rurnpf's body had been found in the aftermath of the nine-alarm fire in which 77 tenants lost their homes, he was called in. The priest said that while no decision had been made yet on support of the family, he hoped a combination of city compensation and support from friends would see the family through until Mrs. Rumpf makes decisions about the future.
"She was in the Air Force for a while," he noted. "She has• a very close-knit and very good family. They stick together. I'm sure they'll all be very realistic." Other public officials who attended the funeral were Walter S Orlinsky, City Council president; Hyman A. Pressman, city comptroller, and William A. Swisher, the state's attorney. None spoke at the service. As the coffin ,was transported by hearse from the church through Dundalk and onto• the Beltway, Baltimore county police closed intersections and Beltway access ramps to allow the mile-long funeral procession to move uninterrupted. They controlled traffic, saluting as they stood at attention, as the motorcade passed by slowly.
As we take this time to remember him, and thank him for his service and sacrifice. We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department will not let him be forgotten. God Bless and rest in Peace.

I was the "motorized" footman for Bolton Hill on this terrible day. I had been dispatched to a call on Chase Street and was heading back to 158 post when I heard Ed on the radio reporting that he found smoke coming out of one of the front 2nd floor apartment windows. He requested the Fire Department to respond. By this time I was coming up the hill on Park Ave. and heard someone come across the radio calling for help. They were coughing and obviously from the sound of their voice, in distress. I knew it was Ed.
When I pulled passed the building there were no fire units on the scene. I saw P/O Richard Sprouse brining out some people, as was a mail carrier. There were flames shooting from the front 2nd floor window and again the radio crackled and in a calmer and softer spoken voice I heard coughing and then the word "help". It was Ed.
P/O Steve Ossmus arrived and we entered the stairs on north side of the building. This was the first time I realized I could hear sirens. We went straight to the second floor and attempted to go through the door but as soon as I grabbed the door handle that led to the hall I had to let go. It was too hot to touch. Steve and I tried to open it but to no avail.
He and I ( as foolish as it was) went to the top floor. We opened the stairwell door and found the hall saturated in smoke. The fire alarm was going off and some people were in the hall. We directed them down the stairs we came up. We yelled, banged on doors, and blew our whistles to get some other people to come out of their apartments. Luckily most people had gone to work and only a few remained.
We were in the stairwell of the 3rd floor when some of the ceiling tiles started melting over our heads. We made it outside to find the Fire Department just hooking up their first line. (It was later learned that the fire units on Mc Mechen St just 5 blocks away had responded to a false alarm pulled by a school kid).
As we made it to the front of the building I was shocked to see how much the fire had spread from the time I had arrived. Steve and I were lucky. What a stupid thing we did! But it was to look for Ed.
I stood in a line with many other officers from Sectors 3 and 5 and watched the building burn. It was surreal. I could only hear the Central District dispatcher doing a Sector by Sector roll call. Not once.... But twice. Both times when they called Ed's unit number.... No response. We all knew Ed was gone.
Several days later the building laid in a huge pile of stone and metal. There was a hook and ladder still putting water on the rubble. There was a crane digging in the area of the elevators. They were looking for Ed.
We watched this for a couple more days until the Fire Chief came into the command post and told Major Burritt that they believed they had located Ed at the base of the elevator shaft. I was still the postman and was directed to go to the excavation with the medics for the purpose of identifying the remains.
The pit was filled with water and debris. Obviously the fire personnel had placed the remains on a ledge of debris. I won't provide any further description out of respect for Ed and his family, but I saw that familiar collar of a reefer. The chain was still attached and there was a partial shoulder patch on the partial coat. No doubt about it... It was Ed.
What came next was totally surprising. As I sat in the command post the Fire
department brought in some articles they found around Ed. Including the portion of the reefer that I had identified. In looking over the coat where our badge is located was a large melted mass. I'm sure it was Ed's badge that melted from the heat. There was a partially burned left handed gun belt. There was a small part of the holster still attached.
Surprised at the articles they brought in, I was shocked to be handed a wet, tightly compressed roll of paper money. The top and bottom of the bills were scorched. I unrolled the top bill and when I laid it out, you could clearly see scorched parallel lines on the bill. Subsequently I unrolled all of the money and had later learned that it was the same amount of money Ed received when he cashed his pay check earlier on that dreadful day.
Fire personnel then brought in another surprise..... a bucket of coins. They reported that the coins were found at the bottom of the pit with Ed. Deputy Battaglia was on the scene and directed me to respond to ECU with the cash and coins. After it was processed, ECU gave it back to me and directed to go to the Commissioner's Office. When I arrived Commissioner Pomerleau looked at the ECU inventory sheet and then he made a call. I heard him tell the person on the other end of the call how much had been inventoried and that he was sending an officer over to see him. He terminated the call and told me to take the money to the Union Trust Bank across from City Hall and that what ever I received from the manager, I was to immediately take it to the Rumph residence and turn it over to Sgt. Joe Richardson who was with Judy and her family. He was Ed's Sergeant.
At the bank I was taken into the manager's office where he gave me two sealed envelopes. One I'm sure was a check in the amount of the inventoried money. When he gave me the other snowball he said.."This is for the family".
I took the envelopes as direct. I met Sgt. Joe at the door and gave them to him. The house was packed with family and blue uniforms. I have no recollection of the drive back to the command post.
For years Judy Rumph would show up at the station on holidays or special events to bring us food, desserts and her inspirational attitude to survive what life give you. She is a remarkable woman.
What a terrible, terrible week. Every year on this anniversary of Ed's death I say a prayer for him and his family. I then give thanks to GOD for seeing Steve and I safely through our search that day.
Over the years I have had many thoughts on this entire incident. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is that being left handed, knowing he was probably going to die, thinking of his family Ed wrapped his recent pay inside the grasp of his left hand and laid on his left side. This last assumption is supported by the fact that the portions of the gun belt and reefer were from the left side.
Rest in Peace Ed.


More details

Name Description
End of Watch 16 February, 1978
City, St. 1526 Park Avenue
Panel Number 1-E: 11
Cause of Death Knife
District Worked Central

Ad details

Ad ID : 89
24657 Views
Contact Advertiser

Contact form

Add to favourites

Sorry, you need to register or login first.

Wanted

Copies of: Baltimore Police Department class photos, pictures of officers, vehicles, equipment, newspaper articles relating to our department. Also wanted Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, Hot Sheets Reports, and or Brochures. Information on retired or deceased officers, fallen or injured officers and anything that may help us to preserve the history and proud traditions of this agency.
Fields marked with * are required
Upload file... Number of files left: 3

Files:

    User Login Form

    X

    Right Click

    No right click