The fire at the Norbury Hotel in 1959

July 25th, 2022 1 Minute
Collection No. 0014.0003, 1959- Image courtesy of the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History (CBIRH)

By Mount Baker Secondary School (MBSS) Student Intern Sasha Buckley

This image represents ‘The Fire of the Norbury Hotel’ that happened in 1959 – not quite sure how it started. But it ended up destroying the entire Hanson Block on Baker Street.

Back in the day, they had much simpler tools for putting out fires. They still had the truck and the hose, and the fire hydrant. They also had water bombers that dropped barrels of fluid, but for a city fire, that is just a hazard that would hit someone next to the building or level the building.

The fire trucks were smaller and slower. The flame-resistant suits the firemen used to enter and get close to the building were also less advanced. They didn’t have the advanced fire control things we have today, but they still had the basic tools to effectively get the job done.

It really does show how back in the day, entire towns would go up in flames. Once the fire gets big enough that the fire trucks aren’t effective, there isn’t much else they can do.

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