Early on May 20, 1939, a general alarm fire swept the yard and buildings at the Clark County Lumber Co. and illuminated the night sky.
``All available equipment of the Springfield fire department was enlisted in the fruitless battle against the scorching flames,'' the Springfield Daily News reported. Train traffic on the New York Central Lines was halted.
Fire Captain Earl Hickman was treated at the yard - located at 1620-1734 West Main Street - for a hand injury and returned to his duties, Fire Chief Grover Frock said.
At the height of the catastrophe, flames leaped more than 100 feet into the sky and threatened adjacent homes and buildings.
Brands fell on a number of properties on the north side of the city and set a fire that destroyed a grain elevator at 1800-24 Main Street. Sparks also ignited a small fire at the Wilson Furniture Service at 1719 West Main Street as well as grass fires.
Utility poles and wires also burned.
According to news accounts, the lumber yard blaze started in Building B, which contained linoleum, insulating material, composition shingles and kitchen cabinets and spread to Building A, which contained the paint department. In all, five buildings were lost.