100yearsago.info
ATLANTA SWEPT BY $3,500,000 FIRE
NEARLY 15,000 HOMELESS OR DESTITUTE
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Fire Rages Over Seventy-Five Blocks in Residential District.
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EXTENDS TO HOMES
ON BEST AVENUE
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Rich and Poor Suffer Alike In Worst Fire Since Sherman Destroyed City as Bockbone of Confederacy—Fine Residences Dynamited In Effort to Check Spread of Flames—Preparations Made to Feed Homeless.
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Atlanta, Ga. May 22—From 10,000 to 15,000 persons are homeless from yesterday’s fire that swept approximately seventy-five blocks of residence property and caused a loss of $3,500,000, it was estimated today. Preparations have been made to feed 5,000 destitute.

Atlanta went to work today to care for the destitute persons from 3,000 homes. The fire that raged yesterday afternoon and last night thruout seventy-five blocks and was stopped only after the dynamiting of the beautiful homes on Ponce de Leon avenue. The property loss was estimated at more than $3,000,000.

The fire started in a warehouse on Decatur and Fort streets and drove first north and then northeast, at some points a block wide, and at times half a mile in width. It crossed Ponce de Leon avenue at one point and swept down the boulevard for a block. On the south side of Ponce de Leon avenue, a wide residence street, the burned area extended from North Jackson street, some seven blocks east of Peachtree street, the principal business section, out almost to the baseball park.

It was the greatest fire in history since the civil war days when General Sherman, terming the city the “backbone of the Confederacy” decreed that it should be burned. In property loss the fire yesterday was greater for the city General Sherman destroyed had only 10,000 inhabitants.

Destitute persons from the burned area, which included negro homes and costly residences of white people, were cared for by the local Red Cross and the associated charities. Hundreds were fed last night and today.

Outside Aid Not Needed.

Mayor Candler and President Ivan E. Allen, of the local chamber of commerce, have agreed that no outside aid would be needed. Both expressed thier appreciation of scores of telegrams telegraphed to them.

Only one person is known to have died from the fire. Mrs. Bessie Hodges died of shock after her home was destroyed. Injuries were remarkably few.

When the flames began advancing northward they drove before them hundreds of persons. Automobile trucks, express wagons and every conceivable vehicle were pressed into service to save personal belongings.

Troops Take Charge.

It was not until the fire reached within a block or two of Pence de Leon avenue, an hour before darkness fell, that order began to come out of the confusion. National guardsmen and men from the officers’ training camp at Fort McPherson took charge of the situation. After this the abandoning of homes was carried out consistently. The soldiers remained on duty all night.

Furniture, bed clothes and all the odds and ends from the homes littered the streets, which were made impassable in many cases by fallen wires. The soldiers allowed nothing to be moved during the night and blocked civilians from the fire zone. Only one case of attempted looting was reported and that resulted in an arrest.

Motor Cars Commandeered.

The fire started two blocks east of Edgewood avenue at Fort street and was swept northeastward by the wind and went rapidly into the white residence section.

Automobile trucks by the score were commandeered to gather every foot of hose in the city, but block after block was burned without anything whatever being done to check the flames.

As the conflagration continued it became increasingly difficult to get accurate reports from the burned area. Wires were cut promiscuously and streets were choked with debris, street cars that did not get out of the area in time and vehicles of all sorts.

Homes Are Dynamited.

Some of the most serious losses were in the section where dynamite was used, scores of pretty homes in a comparatively new district of the city being blown up. The dynamiting began at Boulevard place at about 4 o’clock, but the fighters soon were driven back.

Aided by wide Ponce de Leon avenue and the slowing dying wind, soldiers, firemen, and private citizens blew up whole blocks of houses. Now and then a home on the north side of the avenue would catch fire, but for almost two hours these outbreaks were stoppod. Then the flames gained a foothold accross the street, swept on a block to Vode way and late last night were moving slowly on in a northeasterly direction.

Between Edgewood avenue and Decatur street, at the start of the fire, the flames confined themselves to the section between Boulevard place and Hilliard street. At Edgewood they moved eastward as far as Prospect place in spots, wiping out a block now and then. Practically the entire section bounded by Hllliard street on the west, Prospect place on the east, Edgewood avenue on the south and North avenue on the north, was laid waste.

At North avenue North Jackson street became the western boundary, and with a slight change in the wind the fire moved steadily on a northeasterly direction. It never got nearer Peachtree street, the main thoroughfare of the city, than seven blocks, altho at times a momentary change of wind threatened in that direction.


E.F. Parks Buggies
Ford Motor Company



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