On Dec. 9, 1930, flames raced through the wooden Avalon Park Dance Pavilion on Auburn Avenue and the roof collapsed by the time the first engines arrived.
Fire crews were hindered by a lack of water and "laid 4,000 feet of hose," according to the Springfield Daily News.
The nearest hydrant was at the corner of Leffel Lane and Clifton Avenue, two blocks away from the pavilion.
"Five fire companies under the command of Assistant Chief Frock did their best to save part of the structure, but without success," the Daily News reported.
The caretaker, S.L. Jones, was heating water and coal oil on the stove and the mixture - used for cleaning the building - exploded, the newspaper said.
The loss was estimated at $27,000. (Adjusted for inflation, that would be $385,000 in 2014 dollars.)
There were no injuries.