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Great Fires: 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire

Reports of Fire Officers
San Francisco Fire Department
1906 Great Earthquake & Fire
Captain J. Radford
Engine No. 25, 2547 Folsom Street
Apparatus: 1895 Amoskeag, #716, 2nd size, steam engine, 700 GPM

Immediately after the earthquake at 5.15 A. M. on April 18th, 1906, our Company was summoned by a messenger to a small fire in the upper flat of 2625-1/2 Harrison St. We took the hydrant on the South-west corner of Twenty-second & Harrison Sts., but finding no water we changed the hose to the hydrant at the North-west corner of Twenty-third & Harrison Sts., where we found water. This fire was extinguished and being informed that the North-west corner of Twenty-second & Mission Sts., was on fire we immediately responded (about 5.35 A. M.) but on arriving at Mission St., we could find no water in the hydrants, so went to the South-west corner of Twenty-third & Valencia Sts. where we obtained water. We led a second line from Engine No. 13, stationed at the North-west corner of Twenty-second & Valencia Sts., and attacked the fire from the West side.

Our Engine took station at the hydrant corner of Hill & Valencia Sts., and furnished Engine No. 18 with water. The Company stayed at this fire until about 11 P. M. April 18th, we being the last to leave. In the meantime we had sent a messenger to Battalion Chief McKittrick who sent orders to remain in quarters until sent for. At 12.30 A. M. April 19th, we received word that there was water at Fourteenth & Folsom Sts., but were unable to take that corner at once, on account of the dynamiting which was then going on in that vicinity, under command of Colonel Walter Kelly, First Regiment National Guard California.

After they had dynamited five buildings in that vicinity, we connected to the hydrant on the South-west corner of Fourteenth and Folsom Sts., but on account of the fierceness of the fire then raging in the buildings which had been dynamited we were compelled to retreat to the hydrant in the middle of the block on the West side of Folsom St., between fourteenth & Fifteenth Sts. From this hydrant we led off two streams; one leading across Folsom to the yards of Woerner's Cooperage on the South side of Folsom St. With this stream we were able to stop the fire entirely at that point, saving the Cooperage Co. With the other stream we were able to check the fire on Folsom St. about 150 feet South of Fourteenth St. This was at about three P. M. April 19th, 1906. We then reported to Chief Conlon at Seventeenth & Howard Sts.

In this vicinity we assisted several companies for about four hours, and then returned to quarters to await orders. At about 10 P. M. April 19th, we received instructions from Battalion Chief Conlon, to go to the cistern on 19th Street between Shotwell & Folsom Sts. With the aid of Engine No. 10, we led a second stream from this cistern up Capp St., towards Twentieth St. This stream stopped the fire from crossing Capp St., and saved the East side of the block. By connecting with several engines a line was extended from Twentieth & Church St. to Mission St., and a strong stream obtained. Another line was led from the cistern on 19th St. near Shotwell St., and with the aid of these two streams the fire was extinguished at this point on April 20th, at about six A. M.

This Company was on duty fifty-five hours.

(Signed) James Radford
Captain Engine 25.