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Cyrus / Columbia VFD saved the day- 1948 Brown Drug, Sandusky Fires
Columbia's volunteer firemen proved their mettle in the late spring of 1948 when two major conflagrations occurred in within 14 days of each other.
The first blaze, reported in the May 26 News, was discovered "between 6:00 and 7:00 Wednesday," May 19th, in the Jones Building & quickly spread to the building next door. Businesses mentioned in the Jones Building (owned by Mrs. G.R. Reed) were the Brown Drug Co., Firestone Store, Reed Bros. Ins., Farm Home Adm. and Dr. B.J. Bolin's office. Businesses mentioned in the Taylor-Patterson building (owned by Mrs. Herbert Taylor and Mrs. J.F. Patterson) were The Men's Shop, Willis Dress Shop, Whitlock's Shoe Shop and H.B. Jones' law office.
"Loss by fire and water damage is conservatively estimated at $100,000 only partially covered by insurance"Brown Drug Company, Reed Bros., FHA, had to temporarily move
As a result of the blaze, the Brown Drug Co. temporarily moved to quarters in H.A. Walker's new building; Reed Brothers opened offices in the First National Bank Building; and the Farm Home Administration offices moved to the Heskamp Building on Campbellsville Street. Dr. Bolin's office and the Firestone Store suffered less damage and reopened in a few days.
In the Taylor-Patterson Building, H. Taylor's Men Shop and Hattie Willis' Dress Shop each were closed pending damage estimates from insurance adjustors, while H.O. Whitlock's Shoe Shop and H.B. Jones' law office remained open.
This fire was of such a magnitude that volunteer firemen came from Greensburg and Russell Springs to help, but only one injury was mentioned. Charlie Clift, a Columbia volunteer fireman, suffered painful injuries when the attic floor gave way (he was manning a hose) and "he fell through a hole in the ceiling and rolled down a flight of stairs to the pavement below."
Columbia's second big fire of 1948 was at Sandusky Mill off Campbellsville Street
Columbia's second fire that spring of '48 swept to life around 3:00 a.m. on June 1 or June 2 and a hellsih inferno roared through the Sandusky Mill just off Campbellsville Street.
The June 2, 1948, News reported that "flames of an unknown origin destroyed a large lumber shed filled with lumber, the planing mill building and machinery, kiln and all flooring machinery at the Henry Sandusky Mill." It was further noted that because of extremely high rates, no insurance was carried, and Mr. Sandusky stated the losses might reach as high as $150,000.
The following week, a Card of Thanks appeared in the classified ad section of the News: "I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Columbia Fire Department and to all others who assisted in putting out the fire at my mill last week. /s/ Henry Sandusky."
In a strange twist of fate, these two blazes bookended--of all things--a fireman's school held in Columbia.
The June 2 News also reported that eighteen of Columbia's volunteer firemen attended the five-day school May 24-28, conducted by Capt. V.A. Beam, Chief of the State Fireman's School. Topics included the latest firefighting techniques, proper use of equipment, and methods of control and ventilation. "The evening sessions were held at Meadow Hill Inn through the courtesy of the manager, William L. Walker."
Almost certainly, this just-received training greatly helped the volunteer firemen in their efforts to contain the Sandusky Mill conflagration.
(Does anyone recall seeing either or both of these blazes?)
Your humble Central Ohio Bureau Chief
This story was posted on 2006-03-14 05:51:05
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