Benicia, CA Fire Destroys Armory, Oct 1912
FIRE DESTROYS THE BENICIA ARSENAL.
EQUIPMENT FOR 30,000 SOLDIERS GOES UP IN SMOKE; GOVERNMENT LOSSES.
By International News Service.
San Francisco, Oct. 18. -- Fire starting at 7:30 o'clock on the ground floor, totally destroyed the main store-house of the army arsenal at Benicia, just above Army Point, threatening the lives of both military and civil fire fighters and caused a loss conservatively estimated at $5,000,000.
In spite of the numberless explosions of powder stores in the warehouse, the force of which was such as to be heard and felt for miles around, nobody was injured.
It was found impossible after the first few minutes to do anything by direct streams of water on the blaze from a distance.
The stores consumed by the fire include 15,000,000 rounds of ball cartridges for small arms and gatling guns, 54,000,000 army rifles of the latest pattern, and the complete equipment for thirty thousand soldiers, including uniforms, shoes, blankets, leggings and side arms.
The conflagration was one of the fiercest in the history of the coast. For the first hour or two huge masses of smoke rolled into the sky, gradually giving place to a terrific blaze that shot upwards and could be plainly seen in San Francisco.
Every few minutes the neighboring country was shaken by terrific explosions.
By 10:30 o'clock nothing was left of the building but a broken skeleton of walls.
The cause of the fire is believed to have been spontaneous combustion in the packing of some of the ammunition.
The Salt Lake Tribune Utah 1912-10-19