For six months, George Washington Whalen, 16, a volunteer fireman from the City of Alexandria, clung to life after suffering injuries at his first and last alarm.
Whalen - who the newspapers admiringly called "boy fireman" - fell into the hull of a ship during a fire at Jones Points Shipyard on Aug. 2, 1924 and fractured his spine and skull.
Rescuers found him in water up to his neck.
He died Feb. 20, 1925 at Alexandria Hospital.
Firemen and friends raised money for his family, presented him with a radio set for his 16th birthday and supplied a Christmas tree and holiday gifts.
"His case was hopeless from the the first," The Washington Post reported. "The fact that he survived his injuries so long has been a source of wonder to his physicians."
A photograph in a book about the Alexandria Fire Department showed Whalen's funeral procession, led by a hose wagon carrying his casket.
The Alexandria Times retold the story on March 6, 2012: