In the early morning hours of Feb. 4, 1955 a fire started in downtown Carbondale that would grow to claim 17 buildings and leave 40 people homeless.
According to officials the fire started in the center of Salem Ave. and spread along the street then moving to Main and Church Streets consuming buildings as it moved. In addition to causing some 40 residents out into the cold, the fire also damaged numerous businesses and a bank. The damage is estimated to be close to $2 million dollars.
Some 200 firefighters from numerous communities responded to fighting this massive blaze. Four were injured in fighting the fire. They were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment.
In addition to battling the flames, the firefighters also had to battle the cold. With subfreezing temperatures, the water being used to fight the flames was coating equipment, buildings and the streets in ice. Carbondale’s public works department assisted in spreading cinders and rock salt to fight the ice.
Prior to this fire, Carbondale was to the scene of two other large fires. On Jan. 5, a fire hit two buildings along Main St that damaged Mill Brother Hardware and several other businesses and apartments. In December, a fire hit the Never Warp Door Corp on Peck Ave.
Recording of Scranton Times radio broadcast dealing with the Carbondale Fire on Feb. 4, 1955 –
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast