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Great Fires: 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire

Reports of Fire Officers
San Francisco Fire Department
1906 Great Earthquake & Fire
Captain William Carew
Truck Co. No. 7, 3050 17th Street
Apparatus: Straight Frame, 3rd size, tillered

Immediately after the earthquake which occured [sic] at 5:15 a. m. April 18th we left our quarters and rescued a woman from the ruins of a house at Howard and Erie Sts. There were also a couple parties killed in this place through the effects of the earthquake. From here we went to Twenty-second and Mission streets where a fire was raging for a half a block. This fire was confined to this district and extinguished after a hard fight, with an inadequate supply of water. Our next move was to the Valencia Hotel, on Valencia and Seventeenth streets, where we aided in extracting the dead and wounded from the ruins of this hotel; a number of persons were killed in this hostelry from effects of the earthquake and it was with great difficulty that a number of the wounded and dead were extricated.

After this we were ordered to fight the fire which was then raging in the vicinity of Hayes and Gough streets, but by the time we reached there two complete blocks were on fire. After a long hard fight we found that we were making very little headway owing to the scarcity of water; the fire was spreading rapidly in all directions and in a last effort to check the spreading of the flames dynamite was used.

By order of Chief Shaugnessy [sic], and under the direction of some official from the powder works considerable dynamiting was done in the vicinity of Franklin and Van Ness Ave., on Hayes St. They also used dynamite in the neighborhood of IIth [sic] and Mission Streets. By the use of this explosive a number of buildings were raised to the ground, but as we were under the leadership of a competant [sic] person (one who was used to the handling of high grate explosives) very little damage was done to the properties which joined those we dynamited. This dynamiting occured [sic] on Wednesday P. M. April 18th.

The fire which was raging along Harrison street was stopped with a small stream of water, at the Warner Cooperage Works, on 14th and Harrison streets. After this we followed up the fire until it was extinguished at 2 A. M. on Friday April 20th. We returned to our quarters after having been on duty continuously for about 45 hours. We found our quarters very badly shaken up from effects of the earthquake.

Source: E. A. Platt and R. C. Schindler