Dallas, TX Soap Factory Fire, May 1898


The Excelsior Soap Factory Was a {a} Total Loss.

The Excelsior soap factory, situated one mile north of the courthouse on the line of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad, was destroyed by fire last night at 8 o’clock. The cause of the fire is not known.

The flames were discovered by the night watchman at the factory a short time before 8 o’clock. He sent in an alarm, but the distance was so great that the department could not cover it in time to be of any service.

The factory, it is said, was filled with soap and materials for manufacturing soap, some of the latter being very valuable. An employe{sic} at the factory said that 1000 gallons of oil were consumed.

It is difficult to make an accurate estimate of the loss. None of the members of the firm which owns the plant could be reached by telephone last night and it is claimed that none but them knew the value of the property destroyed, nor the amount of the insurance. Outside estimates of the loss vary greatly. Some place it as high as $20,000 and others as low as $10,000.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 21 May 1898



Additional Details Anent the Burning of the Soap Factory.

It developed yesterday that the fire which destroyed the Excelsior soap factory Friday night was far more costly than was at first supposed. Mr. E. J. Gannon of the American National bank, who is also a stockholder in the Excelsior Soap Manufacturing company, told a News reporter that the loss would probably amount to $30,00, and that the company carried only $12,850 insurance.

The factory was situated on the line of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad. one mile north from the county courthouse and only a short distance from the city crematory. Notwithstanding this fact, however, the members of the fire department, when they arrived on the scene, did their best to extinguish the fire, which, on account of the inflammable materials contained in the building, was one of the hottest and fiercest this city has known in years. The nearest water plug was blocks away, but a line of hose was quickly laid and a heavy stream turned on the burning building. But the water seemed only to add fuel to the flames, and in a short time all that was left of the factory was a heap of crackling coals.

The building contained a large quantity of soap, soap boxes, soap fat and other valuable materials. All were destroyed.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 22 May 1898