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Great Fires: 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire

Reports of Fire Officers
San Francisco Fire Department
1906 Great Earthquake & Fire
Captain A. Welch
Engine Company No. 7, 3160 - 16th Street
Apparatus: 1897 LaFrance, 3rd size, steam engine, 600 GPM

Immediately after the earthquake of April 18th, 1906, we answered a still alarm at 15th and Dolores Sts. The door of our engine house was jammed through effects of the quake, and the fire alarm system was out of order, consequently we had to use our own judgment as to the best way to proceed. Seeing smoke arising from the direction of Hayes Valley we continued our journey until we reached the fire then burning in that district. While in this vicinity we had occasion to try the hydrant at Buchanan and Golden Gate Ave., but as no water could be found I reported to Batt. Chief Waters, who ordered us back to quarters.

We afterwards assisted in extricating the dead from the Valencia Hotel ruins, and were able to remove eight bodies. Later in the day we again left for Hayes Valley, and then returned to 17th and Howard Sts., where we assisted in pumping water from the broken water main at that point. The company then worked up Howard st., from 15th to above 18th St., under orders of Batt. Chiefs McKittrick, Conlon and Waters. After a consultation between Batt. Chiefs McKittrick and Conlon I left for 20th and Church Sts., with a wagon load of hose. I found water at this point, and also at 21st and Dolores Sts. I then returned for two more loads of hose, and in connection with engines #27 & 19 we had sufficient hose to fight the fire down the north side of 20th. St., to Mission St., where the fire was extinguished on the morning of April 20th. at about 10 A. M.

Our operations in this district were under the supervision of Batt. Chief Maxwell, and due to the fact that we were able to obtain a supply of water we were able to stop the fire from crossing 20th St., and destroying the complete Mission district.

While working in this district we were ably assisted by J. Wilson, S. Drummond, J. Ryan, N. Sullivan, E. Richardson, And "Black Jack" (of engine 17 formerly) all of which were exmembers [sic] of the Fire Department.

A. WELCH
Captain Engine #7

From the files of Battalion Chief Fred J. Bowlen, S. F. F. D.