The Dead Firefighter Francis Leavy's Ghostly Handprint Remains An Unsolved Mystery

A strange handprint that could not be removed could be seen on a window at a Chicago fire station for twenty years. Many people thought it belonged to Francis Leavy, a firefighter who was cleaning the window in 1924 when he reportedly foresaw his own death. The handprint could not be washed away, polished away, or scraped away.

The Story Of The Chicago Firefighter Francis Leavy And The Ghostly Handprint

Francis Leavy was a popular and well-respected firefighter during the 1920s. He was known for his hard work and friendly personality, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. Leavy had a great love for his job and was admired by his colleagues for his dedication and positive attitude.

The April 18th, 1924 Chicago Curran's Hall Fire Disaster

On April 18th, 1924, Francis's coworkers noticed a change in his behavior. He was silent and grim as he washed a large window at the Chicago Fire Department, not interacting with anyone or speaking. Suddenly, he announced that he had a strange feeling and believed that he might die that day. The phone rang at that moment, interrupting the tense atmosphere caused by Francis's words.

A fire had broken out at Curran's Hall, a four-story commercial building on Blue Island Avenue in Chicago, which was quite far from the fire department. Francis Leavy and his fellow firefighters quickly rushed to the scene to assess the situation and help those trapped on the upper floors. Time was of the essence as the fire raged on.

The Building Abruptly Collapsed

Initially, it seemed that everyone in the building would be rescued safely. However, the fire suddenly spread and the roof collapsed, causing the walls to come crashing down and trapping several people, including Leavy, under the rubble. Tragically, Leavy's premonition came true and he lost his life trying to save others.


On that day, eight Chicago Fire Department firefighters were killed and over twenty were injured. One firefighter later died from his injuries eight days after the fire, and one civilian also lost their life while attempting to assist in the rescue efforts. The fire was a tragic event that claimed the lives of several brave individuals.

Six firefighters from Engine 12 were killed in the collapse: Frank Frosh, Edward Kersting, Samuel T. Warren, Thomas Kelly, Jeremiah Callaghan, and James Carroll (who later died from his injuries on April 26). Two firefighters from Engine 5 also died: Captain John Brennan and Michael Devine. Francis Leavy was from Engine 107.

The Mysterious Handprints

The day after the tragedy, Leavy's colleagues gathered at the firehouse to try to come to terms with the significant losses. As they sat thinking about the events of the previous day, they noticed something strange on one of the windows. It appeared to be a handprint smeared on the glass.

Eerily, it was the same window that Francis Leavy had been washing the day before. The firefighters tried to clean the window again, but the handprint refused to disappear. For years, the handprint remained on the window despite the use of chemicals to try to remove it. The mystery of the handprint remained unsolved until 1944, when a newspaper boy threw a paper at the window, causing it to shatter.