Andale, KS Farmers Coop Fire, Aug 1957

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Fire Threatens City Of Andale

Wichita (AP) – Fire, sending smoke billowing from oil storage facilities of the Andale Cooperative Assn., threatened the business district at Andale, 21 miles northwest of Wichita, today.

Officials said the blaze apparently started about 11:20 a.m. as a man was loading a gasoline truck, and spread quickly at the co-op, which is at the south edge of the town of some 400 population.

Fireman sought to keep the blaze from spreading to a large tank of highly explosive gas (butane). If it let go, they said, damage to a large part of the business district could result.

Seen Long Way Off

Smoke from the fire was clearly visible 15 miles distant.

Officials said chemical equipment was rushed to the scene from McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, and the Hutchinson Naval Air Station.

Three engines and two tankers from stations of the Sedgwick County Fire Department also rushed to Andale.

Salina Journal, Salina, KS 26 Aug 1957

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$25,000 Fire At Andale Co Op

Wichita (AP) – A spectacular fire that “could have wiped out our whole town if the wind had been from the south” destroyed three large gasoline storage tanks, a warehouse and a gasoline truck at the Andale Farmers Co-op in nearby Andale Monday.

The co-op manager, N. B. SCHMITZ, said the fire – the co-op’s first in 20 years of operation – caused losses totaling $25,000.

The danger to the community of 400 residents, 21 miles northwest of Wichita was told by its 37-year-old mayor, O. H. PELTZER.

The mayor paid tribute to the fire departments of at least seven neighboring communities who joined Andale’s 18 volunteers in controlling the blaze.

At their height the gasoline-fed flames sent a tall column of black smoke billowing in the air, visible for 15 miles or more.

A strong wind, instead of the light breeze prevailing, could have spread the fire into the co-op’s elevator string with a million bushel grain capacity. Mayor PELTZER said.

Saved also were a warehouse and six other storage tanks of diesel fuel and gasoline some 30 feet from the blazing area.

Loss included the three tanks and the truck, 27,000 gallons of gasoline, and a 30-by-50-foot warehouse containing 120 thirty-gallon drums of oil and a thousand pounds of greases.

Salina Journal, Salina, KS 27 Aug 1957