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Oak Cliff, TX fire, Sept 1930

Oak Cliff Night Fire Causes $250,000 Loss

Large District Threatened as Flames Spread

Two Firemen and Police Officer Suffer Minor Injuries.

Water Supply Low

Blaze Starts in Lumber Yard at Cumberland and Jefferson.

Swept by raging flames that were visible from all sections of the city, an entire business block in Oak Cliff was razed by fire early Tuesday night. The damage was estimated at about $250,000.

Business places destroyed were listed as follows: Lingo Lumber Company, Western States grocery store, a vacant business place, the Beckley Cafe, the K. P. Cleaners, Oak Cliff Pharmacy No. 4, Beckley Bakery, A. & P. Grocery, Helpy Selfy Grocery and Cash and Carry Cleaners. For a time the large business district adjoining the burning buildings was seriously threatened.

The burned property is bounded on one side by the 100 block of East Jefferson avenue and on the other sides by Beckley and Cumberland avenues. The fire was believed to have started in the lumber yard and was discovered shortly after 9 o'clock.

Arriving just after the alarm had been given, Police Sergeant B. B. Smith said he found the entire lumber yard a mass of flames. Fire officials arriving with the first contingent of firemen turned in a second and then a general alarm.

Water Supply Inadequate.

Fifteen lines of hose were laid, but finding water pressure insufficient for these, firemen wer forced to discontinue use of three lines and fight the flames with twelve crews of nozzlemen. The pressure in these twelve was reported to have been weak.

Two firemen were injured while fighting the flames and one policeman was injured while hurrying to the scene. Assistant Fire Chief N. M. Deboard was severely bruised when an electric light post fell on him. He was treated at Dallas Methodist Hospital and returned to his duties. Fireman H. L. Russell was lacerated by broken glass. Motorcycle Policeman Lawrence Knight received fractured ribs when his machine and an automobile collided at Colorado and Zang Boulevard.

The heat of the flames was so intense that firemen experienced great difficulty in approaching the blazing structures in the early stages. Numerous crews of nozzle men used wet gunnysacks as shields. On all sides of the blazing structures citizens were busy with garden hose throwing streams of water onto their houses and other property as a protection against flying sparks and the heat. A row of shade trees on Cumberland Avenue appeared to have been badly withered by the heat.

Blaze Draws Throng.

Attracted by the sight of the flames and by sounds of screaming sirens and clanging bells, several thousand citizens flocked to the scene. Crowds were lined up on the sidewalk and deep into the street on all sides and many were seen in office windows and on near-by housetops. A large detail of policemen was kept busy in keeping the front lines of the spectators out of the way of the firemen.

It was during the destruction of the lumber yard that the most spectacular part of the fire occurred. The smell of burning pine was in the air and yellow tongues of flame leaped high into the air with at times hardly a discernible particle of smoke to be seen. At times muffled explosions were heard as paint cans exploded. Only the walls of the part used for the yard office were left standing. The damage to the burnber [sic] yard was unofficially estimated at about $150,000.

Henri Bromberg, one of the owners of the structure that housed the other fire victims, estimated his damage at $50,000. The Oak Cliff Pharmacy loss was estimated at $50,000; the Western States grocery at $10,000; the Helpy Selfy store at $3,500; and the A. & P. Stores at $6,000, while observers believed the remaining estimates would bring the total loss to about $250,000. Most of the losses were at least partially covered by insurance.

The alarm given at about 9:20 o'clock and by 10:30 the fire was well under control. Street car and interurban service on East Jefferson was halted for about an hour.

A part of the street cars were routed by other routes. Utility company men severed light wires beside the blazing structures and halted service in small districts for a short period.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 3 Sept 1930

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