READY TO ROLL

READY TO ROLL

Monday, October 17, 2011

PASS THE CIGARS

Old lumber yard, scene of day's second blaze

On May 12, 1925, Springfield was the scene of two general alarm fires and when the flames were tamed the citizens of Springfield thanked their firefighters with sandwiches and cigars.

The first blaze occurred at the Springfield Abattoir Co at Mill Run and Buck Creek. (An abattoir is a slaughterhouse.) The fire broke out at 2 p.m. and the flames destroyed the cowshed and barns, according to the Springfield Daily News. The fire also destroyed some livestock.

The second general alarm fire that day broke out at the Brain Lumber Co. at East and Harrison streets. The initial alarm was transmitted at 7:20 p.m. with the general alarm following 10 minutes later, according to the Daily News.

The newspaper reported:

The fire started when a thick coating of oil on the surface of Mill Run, paralleling the lumber yard, became ignited from an unknown cause. Flames shot high into the air, and within a few minutes after the first fire company arrived on the scene, the fire had reached one of the buildings of the lumber company and then quickly spread to the others.

From the Mill Run, the flames first spread to a building in which shingles were stored, and numerous other buildings in which finished and rough lumber was stored, were quickly ignited in turn.

The newspaper estimated that the blaze, which was visible from across the city, attracted between 5,000 and 10,000 spectators.

The fire also destroyed three railroad boxcars loaded with lumber.

Firebrands from the lumber company ignited row house roofs along Harrison Street, and firefighters alternately played their hose lines on the lumber yard and the dwellings. Some of the residents turned their garden hoses on the flames.

The worst of the flames were contained in about an hour and firefighters wet down the debris throughout the night.

The citizens of Springfield, in turn, showed their appreciation and ``baskets of sandwiches and kettles of steaming coffee were served to the men as they worked in the cold hours around midnight,'' the Daily News said. ``Boxes of cigars were also passed out to the firemen by the officials of the Brain Co.''