Saratoga Springs, NY Block Fire, Jan 1957


Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (UP) -- A fire apparently started by an oil burner explosion raged through a downtown block of this famous resort city for five hours Sunday, killing one person, injuring four others and leaving 30 families homeless.
Firemen believe an oil burner explosion in the Paris Bowling alley started the $2.5 million blaze and spread from there throughout eight buildings in the crowded city block.
Policeman FRED PETTIT, 41, was killed when a second explosion collapsed a bowling alley wall. Fire Chief ROBERT CARROLL, who was pinned in the wreckage, was hospitalized. Three firemen were slightly injured.
The Red Cross declared the burned section a disaster area and set up an emergency office to supply food and clothing to some 30 homeless families who lived in the upper stories of the buildings. Other organizations including the Salvation Army and the Civil Air Patrol set up stations to give aid and restaurants gave free meals to those fighting the fire.
Four hotels donated lodging and meals to the homeless victims. Guests at the Worden Inn were evacuated early in the morning as a precaution since sparks were landing on the roof from the blaze across the street. However, the hotel did not catch fire.
Police Chief Robert Flanigan asked all residents to boil their drinking water as the filters from the city's reservoir had been bypassed to keep up water pressure to fire hoses.
Buildings destroyed by the blaze included:
Starbuck Department Store.
Saratoga Appliance Co.
Paris Bowling Alley and Restaurant.
Saratoga Men's Shop.
Mae Finn Drug Co.
F. W. Woolworth's
Liggetts Drug Store.
The J. J. Newberry Store was saved from the blaze by a fire wall. Smoke and water damage in this and other stores nearby has not yet been estimated.

Long Beach Independent California 1957-01-28