This month in Edmonds history: 1928 fire strikes downtown buildings

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The aftermath of the 1909 fire in downtown Edmonds. (Photo courtesy of the Edmonds Historical Museum)
My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of April, we’ll revisit 1928.

 

In April 1928, Edmonds suffered its second major downtown fire.  The fire started in the back room of a building occupied by the Edmonds Club and the Edmonds Bakery, then hopped across Main Street and engulfed several buildings, including the Princess Theater.  The fire then blew into the Beeson building, burning the stairs, cornice and roof.  Seattle’s Greenwood fire district helped prevent the fire from spreading any further.  The bakery suffered the most, with nearly $5,000 worth of damage; The Princess Theater, along with other businesses that shared that building, suffered approximately $1,000 worth of damage.

Nearly 20 years prior, the first devastating fire in Edmonds occurred early in the morning on July 8, 1909.  The flames began in a storeroom occupied by the Hicklin Plumbing Company. B.N. Davis, who was sleeping in the back room of his confectionery store, discovered the flames and called the alarm. By the time the firemen arrived, there was nothing they could do; the entire Jones block, including the post office, was destroyed. Davis’ confectionery, O.E. Williams’ jewelry store and S.R. Patterson Hardware were completely destroyed as well. The total loss of the 1909 fire was estimated at $20,000.

Edmonds’ fire equipment improved vastly between the two fires, greatly increasing fire-fighting abilities.  In the first decade of the 1900s, the team had only a hose wagon and cart.  By the 1920s, the Edmonds Volunteer Fire Department had acquired a 1921 Ford Model T equipped with a chemical extinguishing unit, and a 1925 REO Speedwagon fire engine. In the 1930s, they purchased a new 1938 Ford fire truck from the Yost Auto Company.  Complete with 300-gallon booster tank and 150 feet of hose, the truck was a huge improvement over the fire carts of the past.  The 1938 Ford remained Edmonds’ main fire engine (Engine No. 1) for many years.

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