Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William Cosgrove  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- William Cosgrove on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

William Cosgrove was born in Chicago, Illinois and was raised on the south side of the city as one of ten children of a Chicago firefighter. He wore his fathers badge for over twenty-eight years on the Chicago Fire Department. This badge was passed on to his son, Timothy, who is now a Chicago Firefighter.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mr. Cosgrove was also a Fire Investigator for the City of Chicago. He served as a Technical Advisor to Mr. Robert DeNiro in the blockbuster movie, “Backdraft”, on which he based his first book, “Robert DeNiro and the Fireman”. His second book “The Noble Breed” takes the readers into the harrowing lives of Chicago firefighters, and explains in summary the never told story of the Chicago firefighters strike against the City of Chicago. Bill Cosgrove, in his third book “Accident or Arson” graphically portrays firefighters at their best and he presents a vivid description of firefighter specialists conducting detailed fire origin and cause investigations. Bill received valor awards from the City of Chicago Fire Department for fire rescues in 1970, 1974, 1978, and 1988. He also received a valor award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1975. Since retiring from the Chicago Fire Department in 1995, he practices as a licensed private detective. Bill owns and operates, Bill Cosgrove Investigations, Inc. His company specializes in the origin and cause of fires.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Robert De Niro and the Fireman
ISBN: 1887750630

Netsource Dist Services. 1997

Book by Cosgrove, Bill

The Noble Breed
ISBN: 1582440638

Netsource Dist Services. 1999

Book by Cosgrove, Bill

Accident or Arson?
ISBN: 1582441979

Netsource Dist Services. 2002

Follows Bill Cosgrove and the Chicago Office of Fire Investigation as they, along with additional law enforcement agencies, examine and question fire scenes to determine the possible presence of arson.

Chicago's Forgotten Tragedy
ISBN: 1452079390

AuthorHouse. 2010

Bill Cosgrove, in his fourth and latest book, graphically depicts the early history of the Chicago Fire Department with authoritative accuracy. He gives the reader an insight into how the Department was organized, how it functioned, the use of technology that was available at the time, and paints a vivid picture of the many great fires of the day. He also describes the tremendous physical stamina, dedication and bravery of the firemen and the intrepid leadership of some of the officers. Bill provides the reader with a highly detailed story of the tragic stockyards fire of December 22, 1910 where 21 firemen lost their lives, including the Department's Chief of the Brigade, James Horan. This is such a fascinating account of the early history of the Chicago Fire Department that the reader will have great difficulty putting the book down until it is finished. A great read, by a great story-teller! Thoroughly enjoyable and fully factual. William C. Alletto Deputy Fire Commissioner (Retired) Chicago Fire Department

Speaking Engagements

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