Skip to Content

Alexandria, VA Stable Fires, Aug 1904

Several Fire Fighters Injured by Ungovernable Nozzle.

Excitement Attended Two Sunday Blazes in Barns –

Washington Post Bureau
631 King Street, Alexandria, Va.

The entire fire department was called out twice yesterday, each time to quench burning stables. The first blaze was discovered about 1 o’clock in the morning on the premises of Councilman James McCuen, 600 and 602 South Alfred street The alarm was given by locomotive whistles in the Southern Railway yards nearby, and when the fire apparatus reached the ground the loft of the building was burning fiercely and the flames were brightly illuminating the entire southwestern section of the city. The fire was extinguished before the building was consumed, but only after a hard fight, in which several firemen were more or less injured.

During the progress of the fire a hose nozzle became unmanageable and knocked men right and left. John Henderson, a young man with only one arm, was struck on the right leg and terribly cut and bruised. At the direction of Chief Engineer Pettey he was placed in a hose wagon and sent to the hospital, where his injuries will keep him confined for some days. Kingston Ratcliffe, a member of Engine Company No. 5, was struck in the eye by a piece of timber or a brick and was knocked from the top of a ladder into the burning building, and it was in an effort to rescue him that the others on the ladder lost control of the nozzle. It is a curious fact that the eye in which Mr. Ratcliffe is injured is already sightless. He is painfully hurt, however. Frank D. Pollard, a member of Engine Company No. 5, is suffering from a sprained ankle. The entire second story and contents, consisting of hay and feed, were destroyed. The loss will amount to several hundred dollars, and there is no insurance.

The second fire was in the loft of the stable on the premises of William B. Smoot, at the southwest corner of Prince and Columbus streets, and occurred about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, starting in a quantity of hay. The department responded promptly and soon had the flames under control. The building is of brick, with shingle roof. The roof and other woodwork on the second story and the contents were consumed. The horses and carriages on the ground floor were removed uninjured. The damage is covered by insurance. Another fireman was injured at this fire. Assistant Foreman George W. Pettey, of Engine Company N. 5, while blinded by smoke, came in contact with a lot of burning hay and was painfully burned on both hands. The origin of neither blaze is known.

The Washington Post, Washington DC 4 Aug 1904



article | by Dr. Radut