Business Section Fire: 0051.0810

FIRE WIPES OUT BUILDINGS IN LOCAL BUSINESS SECTION -Dezall’s Garage, Kootenay Garage, Italia Hotel, Sunrise Bakery, York Rooming House, Cranbrook Hotel Annex, Rooming House and Dwelling Destroyed.

 

New Pump Truck Completed Just in Time

            Most Disastrous Conflagration in City’s History; Valiant work of Fire Department and Citizens Prevented Spread of Flames to Buildings in Path of Inferno

            Following a lull of five years without a fire of any consequence, the city of Cranbrook was hit a severe blow early last Saturday morning when seven places in the business section were completely destroyed. It was by far the worst fire in the history of Cranbrook, with a loss aggregating some $30,000. For a time it looked as though the whole business district was doomed, but to the valiant work on the part of the fire department and the further fact that the water supply kept well up its full pressure, the situation was saved.

Breeze Fans Flames

            The flames had gained a good foothold by the time the fire department was called and fanned by a stiff wind, leaped from building to building with alarming rapidity. Soon the Italia hotel was ablaze and in a few moments was a mass of flames. The light frame structure soon crashed to the ground. From here the inferno spread to Dezall’s Garage, where quantities of oil and gasoline speeded the flames on their destructive path. Miss Kathleen Dezall, at considerable risk managed to get into the garage office and rescue the books and other material from the safe, and was assisted out through the window with her arms loaded. The Dezall private Studebaker car had to be left to the flames, being under repairs at the time.

            The flames had by this time spread to the Kootenay Motors building which fell a ready prey with its gasoline laden atmosphere. From here the blaze ate its way to the Cranbrook Hotel annex and things were looking mighty bad for the rest of the business section. The wind was coming from the west and large sparks and blazing debris were carried across Baker St and onto buildings the other side of the street. The fire fighters concentrated their efforts on the hotel annex and the old Home Inn building to prevent the blaze spreading with the wind, the progress of the fire was arrested. In the meantime the flames had crept up Hanson Ave in the other direction and suddenly the Sunrise Bakery, operated by J. Davey, burst into flames. Mr. Davey was successful in saving a quantity of his stuff.

            One of Cranbrooks landmarks was destroyed in the holocaust, the Cranbrook Hotel annex being the first hotel building in Cranbrook.

            Cranbrooks water supply was put to crucial test. Twelve lines of hose played steady streams on the fire for a period of almost seven hours, and when the reservoir was inspected the following morning it showed little depreciation. During the fire the pressure remained at about 90 pounds from hose attached to hydrants and that from the centrifugal pump attached to the newly built truck at 140 pounds. Without question this new equipment proved a major factor in saving the situation for Cranbrooks business district, under fireman McClure’s watchful supervision the pump functioned smoothly supplying the pressure necessary to subdue the darting flames which threatened the Cranbrook hotel.

Property Destroyed

            Following is a list of the property destroyed together with the valuation estimated from the assessment roll of the city: York Rooms – Owned by H. Shapka and Bill Goruk $3,000

Italia Hotel – Owned by Felix Provenzano $3,700

Dezall Garage – Owned by F.H. Dezall and sons $3,000

Home Inn – Owned by Cranbrook Trading Co. $3,000

Cranbrook Hotel Annex – Owned by Baker estate $2,100

Kootenay Motors – Owned by Dr. W. A. Fergie $2,700

Davey’s Bakery and Dwelling  - Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Steffnuk $1,700

All property is in the 100 block and lying between Hanson and Durick avenues. There was an annex to the Italia Hotel, which is listed with the main building, and in the rear portion of the building occupied as the Home Inn some two car loads of flour and feed owned by the Lake of the Woods Milling Co. are stored, as also was some flour and feed owned by Cranbrook Trading Co.

Origin of Fire

            As near as can be learned the fire had its inception in a room at the rear of the York rooming house and was discovered about 2:10am K.J. McCrae and Herold Haslam, railroad men, were apparently the first to see the blaze. They were up and preparing to go out on the road. They roused Mr. and Mrs. Sam Deluca at the Venezia hotel and others on that vicinity and sent a call into the fire department Chief Adams and the crew of eight who sleep at the fire hall were soon on the job and with the full equipment of the department pressed into service. Most of the cars in the garages were saved but supplies and workmen’s tools were a total loss.

            The big fight was to save the Cranbrook hotel, and for a time eight lines of hose were directed on the building.

            If the hotel building caught fire it is doubtful if adjoining buildings could have been saved.

            As the flames shot skyward they could be seen from all parts of the city and most people got out of bed and came to see the sight. Many in nearby hotels and rooming houses got out clad in their night robes.  Goods were carried out of some of the stores within the danger zone, and in some cases there was pilfering of stuff. Several Kimberly residents report having seen the flames reflection from the mining city.

Clearing Up the Wreck

            Conditions in the fire zone are getting back to normalcy. Considerable of the debris is already being cleared away. Dezalls garage is open for business in a building owned by the firm south in the same block, and the Kootenay Motors have taken temporary quarters in the building until recently occupied by the Cranbrook Body Works.

            M.E. Nasmith and J.M. Robertson general adjusters, of Vancouver, were here this week estimating the various losses. Most property destroyed was covered wholly or in part by insurance. Yesturday they completed their work and the losses to be paid by the different insurance companies will total $28,052. This means an almost 100% coverage when compared with the assessed valuation of the different properties made by the city. The losses are pretty well scattered between the different companies and represented locally by the local insurance agencies.

Previous Big Fire

            The previous big fire in Cranbrook was on July 22nd 1931 when some seven or eight buildings down in the Chinese district went up in smoke. The loss at the time was only around $3,500.

0051.0810: Business Section Fire

After five years without a fire of consequence the city of Cranbrook lost seven places in the business section.

Medium:  Newspaper - Text
Date:  July 30, 1936
Pages:  6
Publisher:  Cranbrook Courier
Collection:  Columbia Basin Institute (0051)

Keywords:

fire buildings business section pump truck hotel garage bakery water supply chief

Subjects:

People arrow Dezallarrow
People arrow Daveyarrow
People arrow McClurearrow
People arrow Shapkaarrow
People arrow Gorukarrow
People arrow Provenzanoarrow
People arrow Bakerarrow
People arrow Fergiearrow
People arrow Daveyarrow
People arrow Steffnukarrow
People arrow McCraearrow
People arrow Haslamarrow
People arrow DeLucaarrow
People arrow Adamsarrow
People arrow Nasmitharrow
People arrow Robertsonarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Services arrow Fire Department and Firesarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses arrow Italiaarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Garages arrow Dezall Garagearrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Garages arrow Imperial Kootenay Motorsarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses arrow Cranbrook Hotelarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Street Names arrow 8th Avenue Sarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Street Names arrow Baker Streetarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Street Names arrow Hanson Avenuearrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses arrow Home Innarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Bakeries arrow Sunrise Bakeryarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Utilities arrow Waterarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses arrow York Rooming Housearrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Retailers arrow Cranbrook Trading Coarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Bakeries arrow Davey's Bakeryarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Street Names arrow 7th Avenue Sarrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Street Names arrow Durick Avenuearrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Hotels, Motels, Boarding Houses arrow Venezia - Sam Steelearrow
Cities arrow Cranbrook arrow Businesses arrow Garages arrow Cranbrook Body Worksarrow

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