Hyndman, PA Town Fire, Dec 1949



Hyndman, Pa., Dec. 25. -- (UP) -- Fire burned out the business center of Hyndman Sunday night and the flames threatened the entire town of 1,500 people before being brought under control.
Pennsylvania state police received an emergency call from a squad car in Hyndman asking for a strong force of officers to prevent looting.
The squad car radioed that the center of the town was burned out and "houses around the town are burning."
Red Cross officials from surrounding towns were summoned, one report said that the Red Cross at Cumberland had designated Hyndman as a disaster area. The Red Cross disaster chairman at Bedford left for the scene.
Fifteen to 20 fire companies raced to the mountain town, 12 miles from Cumberland, Md., to help fight the flames. Firemen for 30 miles around were called away from their Christmas dinners to answer the emergency.
Telephone communications to the stricken community were knocked out. State Police at Bedford said they got their first report at 6 p.m. More than two hours later the police reported the fire "continuing to spread to frame dwellings."
Police said they had no information as to the cause of the fire and no reports of any dead or injured. Officers said that it was the second fire to hit Hyndman in a week. A large lumber yard was destroyed in the first fire.
Source of the fire could not be determined immediately. One report said it started in a general store.
The town lies in the Allegheny mountains about 12 miles from Cumberland, Md., and 25 miles from Bedford.
Fire companies throughout the mountainous area surrounding Hyndman were called to the scene. Hospitals were alerted, but no one yet was able to offer an immediate estimate of the damage, because of communication failure.
The town is composed mostly of frame buildings, and state police in Bedford county feared that "the whole town might go up" unless the blaze was quickly brought under control.
The American Red Cross designated the town a disaster area and along with all volunteer companies in the area, sent out calls for help.
Volunteer help was hindered in reaching the scene by road blocks which were set up all around the town. State and local police refused to allow anyone to enter the town unless they were on "official business."

Billings Gazette Montana 1949-12-26