Friday, September 22, 2006

Hook, line and sinker (Part 2 of 2)

Nearly two weeks after the truck-house of Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 burned to the ground, investigators scratched their heads trying to figure out why it went up in flames.

Equally disturbing was how the company's new fire truck managed to wind up destroyed in the blaze.

Also unsettling was that the blaze started while everyone was occupied with the bonfire going on in the First Ward.

An investigation led to a youth named Diggs. He was brought before a grand jury and implicated two fire fighters in the blaze.

According to information published April 12, 1883, in the Houston Daily Post, the driver of the fire truck wanted to burn down the truck-house "for the purpose of getting a new one built in its place."

Knowing that a bonfire would occur after midnight on April Fool's Day, the driver figured it would be a good time to put his plan into action.

An accomplice stashed some hay in the back of the truck-house and saturated it with coal oil. The driver and the youth stayed behind and set the building on fire while the truck driver went to look into the First Ward bonfire.

"Their plan was to save the truck and burn only the house, but the flames, when once started, spread so rapidly that they were unable to do anything toward saving the new truck," the paper reported.

Both the truck driver and his accomplice were arrested and indicted for their part in torching the truck-house. The youth was able to testify against the two, which led to their arrest.

The history of the Houston Fire Department can be found here.

Still on the subject of fires, this Web site has some pictures from past fires in Houston. For example, does anyone remember when the Borden's Ice Cream plant exploded in downtown in Dec. 1983?



Post a Comment

<< Home