Wallace, ID Forest Fire, Aug 1910
FIRES SWEEP ON
FORESTS IN MONTANA AND IDAHO BEING LAID WASTE.
MANY LIVES REPORTED LOST
WALLACE PARTLY BURNED, WITH TWENTY-FOUR DEAD.
PROPERTY LOSS OF MILLION
SCORES OF FIRE FIGHTERS DECLARED TO BE VICTIMS.
District a Hundred Miles Square in Burning Area and Fatalities in the Section May Be Large.
Known dead near Wallace ........ 24
Injured in same locality ....... 25
Property loss at Wallace $1,000,000
Rumored dead in fire zone ...... 20
WALLACE, Idaho, Aug. 21.-Day-light this morning showed that imminent danger of this city's destruction has passed, but it brought also confirmation of losses which were only rumored and suspected last night. At least two died in the city fire, JOHN J. BOYD, a pioneer of the Couer d'Alenes and formerly agent for the Oregon Railroad & Navigation company, and an unidentified man or woman, who was incinerated in the Michigan hotel. Only the skull of the latter was found in the ruins this morning.
Of the fire-fighting forces an accurate toll of the dead and wounded is quite unavailable, but the known dead number twenty-four, the total injured twenty-five, in addition to ten blinded by smoke.
Saved Town From Destruction.
The steady work by the fire department, members of Twenty-fifth infantry, colored volunteers and the forestry forces alone saved Wallace from total destruction. The conflagration in the east was started shortly after 11 o'clock, and back firing in adjoining hills to the west and south prevented new fires in those directions.
It is estimated that the loss in the city is about $1,000,000. The entire eastern section from Seventh street to Canton street is destroyed, with three terraces of residences on the hillside. The principal buildings burned and the estimated losses follow:
Couer d'Alene Hardware company warehouse. $150,000
---set brewery, $80,000.
Pacific hotel and annex. $60,000.
Couer d'Alene iron works, $80,000.
Oregon Railway & Navigation depot, $60,000.
Times Printing company, $25,000
Worstell Furniture company, $50,000.
About 150 residences are destroyed, and many other smaller business places. Providence hospital and the Federal Land company's big mills are the the only buildings saved in the east end.
Loss of Timber Stupendous
The forest supervisor reports that the entire country between Wallace and the St. John river is swept clean and that the loss of timber is stupendous. Fires between Burke and Mullan threaten both towns tonight, and many women and children are being sent away.
With daylight a relief expedition will be organized to go to Placer and Big creeks, where the fire-fighters' camps are located. These men have been scattered ovr [sic] the country, driven hither and thither by the flames. At War Eagle tunnel, three miles from Wallace, six dead were found and two were badly burned. Five of the dead in the tunnel had sought refuge. They lay with their faces down on the water, covered with blankets and had died partly from flames and partly from suffication.
The injured were relieved by temporary dressings and were brought to the hospitals.
Twelve Dead Recovered.
At Big creek twelve dead were recovered, two injured and three unfortunates who were completely blinded. One fighter was found dead near Mullan and sixteeen [sic] who were more or less seriously burned. At Pine creek three are dead, five blinded and five others injured.
It is impossible to learn the names of the dead, most of whom came in from Spokane and other points at the call of the forestry service. The bodies are being buried wherever they are found. Days and weeks may elapse before anything like a complete estimate of the fatalities is available.
Fires are still burning around the city, but most of the hillsides facing the town are now burned off, and unless the wind rises the town is believed to be comparatively safe.
Two or three hundred people are left homeless in Wallace, many having lost their belongings. A thick pall of smoke still hangs over the city and a watch is being kept at points of danger.
The water supply is good. The lighting plant, disabled last night, has resumed operations.
(Wallace is a town of 3,750 population, the county seat of Shoshone county, Idaho, and is located at the base of the Bitter Root mountains, in the northeastern part of the state, on the lines of the Northern Pacific railroad and Oregon Railway and Navigation company.)
The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 22 Aug 1910