Denver, CO Union Depot Fire, Mar 1894
The Union Depot Completely Destroyed by Fire.
The Union Depot at Denver was burned down the morning of the 18th. The fire started shortly after midnight.
The origin of the fire is supposed to be from a detached live electric wire. Early in the evening two of the wires in the ladies waiting room suddenly broke, letting the arc lights to the floor. As no particular damage was done little was thought of the occurrence. The officials at the depot can ascribe no other cause than this.
The fire was discovered by the night hands, in the western wing, in the second story and above the baggage room. It was hoped for a short time that it could be checked and the damage confined to that portion of the building. The employees attempted to put out the fire and did not call the department promptly.
The offices where the conflagration had its inception are occupied by the Denver & Rio Grande railroad. This part of the building was soon a mass of flames. But apparently no progress was made in the uneven fight.
The material used in the building was of an inflammable character, except the stone walls.
There were many narrow escapes from death by the firemen, and each new experience of this nature was received with a hush of awe by the spectators and a shout of rejoicing when a huge timber in flames missed the person of some firemen.
As the flames greedily spread from one apartment to another, it seemed to the spectator of the lurid scene as though it was but the burning of a toy paper house.
Every railroad employee was pressed into the service and nearly all the baggage stored in the rooms below was quickly removed on tracks or carried out upon the tracks.
The most trouble was experienced in the attempt to save the records in the offices. This met with only partial success. Books and papers were thrown out of the window recklessly and out of the wreck many documents were saved. There were, however, offices in which the loss was complete and in others the swiftly moving flames and the smoke made it impossible even to enter the door.
The building was owned by the Union Depot company, four fifth of the stock in which was held by the Union Pacific and one-fifth by the Rio Grande. The building cost about $500,000 and was insured for $425,000. The depot will be rebuilt immediately. It is hoped that the old walls can be utilized.
A few rooms can still be used and temporary arrangements will be made until the new building is ready.
Fairplay Flume Colorado 1894-03-22