1931 - WATERFRONT FIRE CAUSES DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT $3,000,000
NORFOLK, Va., June 8. - (AP) - Norfolk spent last night fighting a three million dollar waterfront fire.
Started by an explosion on an oil barge at the Buxton Line piers, the fire rode a strong wind along two hundred feet of wharves, destroyed a hotel, swept through the wholesale district and leaped across Main street to threaten the retail business center.
The explosion, the cause of which was sought by firemen today, occurred at 5:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and it was after midnight today before the combined fire fighting forces of the entire Hampton Roads area, aided by 1300 sailors and marines, brought the fire under control. A driving rain that began just before midnight checked the spread of the flames.
The Victoria hotel, a two hundred-room structure, was destroyed Miss Carrie Ambrose, switchboard operator and employees had escaped.
The American Peanut Corporation plant was burned down at an estimated loss of one million dollars. Seven city blocks were swept by the fire.
During the night thirty persons including several firemen, reported to hospitals for treatment and sixteen of them had injuries sufficiently serious to cause them to be kept patients. A large number of others received treatment at ambulances stationed near the fire zone.
A force of 1300 bluejackets and marines from the battleships Arizona and Utah and from the Naval Base was called out to maintain order. Approximately five hundred back crowds attracted to the fire zone by the leaping flames and by the dense smoke which hung over the waterfront.
Equipment and firemen from Newport News, Portsmouth, South Norfolk, Suffolk, the Naval Base and the Norfolk Naval Yard, were called to the assistance of Norfolk fire fighters, but little headway was made against wind-driven flames until rain came.
In addition to the business houses burned, the T. J. Hooper, a two hundred foot tug belonging to the Eastern Transport Company, an unidentified tug and a smaller barge, together with two hundred feet of wharf were damaged.
Reno Evening Gazette
June 8, 1931
Visit Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.