Karl passed to eternal life on May 27, 2012.
He is greatly missed. We keep his biography on our officer’s page area in his honor.
Karl was born on March 28, 1936 in Munich, Germany to Karl and Maria Blank. His father was also a firefighter. Karl survived World War II despite great hardship and the loss of his father. He attended Business School for three years and graduated with a diploma. In 1957 he emigrated to Philadelphia. He was drafted into the US Army in 1959. He achieved the rank of Specialist E-4 as a Combat Engineer with the 553rd Combat Engineer Battalion. While in the service, he married Philadelphia native Alice Dove. He received his honorable discharge in 1961 and became a US Citizen in 1963. In June of 1966 he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department.
After attending firefighter training he began his firefighting career with PFD’s Engine 14. He received a promotion to lieutenant in 1971 and his first assignment as an officer was to the Engine 35. While there he was detailed to the Philadelphia Fire Academy and served as an instructor for several classes until his assignment to the Engine 22 in 1978. From 1978 to 1979 he attended night classes Philadelphia Community College studying Fire Science for Arson Investigation, Fire Prevention, Building Systems and Report writing. With this accreditation he was assigned a back-up Assistant Fire Marshal. Karl served in this capacity from 1978 to 1988 while doing other three year assignments in the field as company lieutenant at Ladder 28, Engine 62, Ladder 15 and finishing with his retirement in 1988 at Engine 73.
In 1982 Lt. Blank gathered men and women in the fire service with a German heritage or just with an interest in the subject Firefighting and German. With 91 such individuals he founded the German-American Firefighters Association and incorporated it as a non-profit in the State of Pennsylvania in 1983. Over the years he served ten terms as president, one term as V.P. and then served as secretary-treasurer until his death.
Karl continued to serve the department after his retirement, supporting and working at the Philadelphia Fireman’s Hall Museum Muster through GAFA. Karl also served his church in various capacities.
Karl and Alice lived in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia. Karl is survived by his wife and two grown children; a son and a daughter, and two grandchildren. Karl’s son, Karl Jr., is following in his father’s footsteps, having also joined the Department in 2006 and was promoted to lieutenant in February of 2012.
Karl will be greatly missed as a friend, associate, and as someone who cared deeply for his family, his church, and his community.