East St. Louis, IL Elevator Fire, Oct 1913


St. Louis, Oct. 20. -- With an estimated loss of half a millioin dollars in grain, the Advance Elevator in East St. Louis, Ills., burned to the ground early today. Crawling up and down the strip of land between the Mississippi river and the Cahokia Creek, the blaze did another half million dollars damage to the warehouse of the Chicago and Alton, the Baltimore and Ohio and the Clover Leaf railways companies. The few citizens of East St. Louis who were not kept up all night protecting their homes from flying embers, awoke this morning to find a burning mound of 200,000 bushels of wheat, 150,000 bushels of oats and 75,000 bushels of barley.
Officials of the company predicted it would take several weeks for the mass of grain to burn itself out.
There is said to be no hope of saving any of it.
A rain which began early yesterday afternoon and continued into today, saved the city from a general fire. From the moment it was discovered at 10 o'clock last night until dawn today the fire was probably the most spectacular ever seen here. For a radius of half a mile from the burning elevator the rain of water was accompanied by an equally heavy rain of burning embers as large as baseballs. Every householder within that radius was on the roof of his home with a garden hose, fighting the flying fire as fast as it fell. Both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the river were lined with thousands of spectators.
The spectacle was capped by the collapse of the elevator. Reduced to a shell of ashes, it popped open, hurling forth half a million bushels of burning grain. Half of this slide into the Mississippi, sizzled and floated away, and the remainder spread out on the bank and is still burning. The grain belonged to Illinois farmers for whom it was being held in storage. The loss is covered by insurance.

The Newark Advocate Ohio 1913-10-20