Hot Springs, AR Flood & Fire - The First Report


Meager Reports Reach Little Rock – Direct Communication Cut Off Early in Evening – Deluge of Rain Starts at 6 O’Clock – Entire Block Goes Up in Flames.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., May 15. – (Tuesday) – Flood and fire Monday night caused heavy loss of life and property damage at Hot Springs, Ark., according to meager reports gathered here from many sources other then the stricken city, direct communication with which ended at 8 o’clock Monday night.

Efforts were being made throughout the night and early this morning to learn the extent of the disaster visited upon the famous Arkansas health resort.

From Pine Bluff, Ark., the telephone office reported a brief conversation with Hot Springs before the wires were washed away stating that seventeen were known dead. The momentary conversation was almost immediately broken before the Pine Bluff operator could ascertain the details.

Railway men Report Loss.

Railway men in communication with repair crews seeking to open a line of communication into Hot Springs also reported the loss of life would total seventeen.

First reports of the disaster to reach here started that a deluge of rain starting shortly after 6 o’clock had flooded the streets until Central avenue was running three feet deep in water, which was flooding the stores which line what is the principal street of the city.

Both the Western Union and Postal Telegraph Company offices were flooded early in the downpour and within a short time wire communication with Hot Springs was ended, the newspaper and railroad lines being washed away along with those of the commercial companies.

Fire Adds Horrors.

A brief report shortly before 8 o’clock stated that fire had added its horrors to the flood-swept city, an entire block of buildings in the business district being destroyed.

Arrangements were begun here last night for relief to be sent to Hot Springs.

A number of small residences here were wrecked, streets were flooded and blocked by fallen trees, and street car services were suspended in this city as a result of continuous rains, which culminated tonight in a windstorm accompanied by a heavy downpour. No casualties were reported.

The Indianapolis Daily Star, Indianapolis, IN 15 May 1923