For years and years, the threat of fire was a horror to Comanche, Texas residents, and for years and years and years, for whatever reason, nothing was done about it. The following is from the Comanche Chief’s March 16, 1876, edition, and I’m sure the incident was especially alarming considering that the town had lost the entire north side of the square less than a decade before.
“On yesterday the cry of ‘fire’ rang out, startling our unusually quiet town with its alarming sound.”
It wasn’t long before it was discovered that the fire was burning in the roof of J.S. Vedder’s store and almost as quickly 100 or more men were on the scene, trying to quench the vicious flames.
Of course, there was no fire department or no waterworks system in place in Comanche at this time, but the men set to work with their hatchets while others formed a bucket brigade from a cistern located in back of the store. Unbelievably, the men responded with enough speed and worked so furiously that they were able to contain this fire, losing only a part of the roof of the building.
According to the Chief, the entire side of the square was at that time made up of wooden buildings and I’m sure it was only the quick action of the man as well as the location of the cistern that saved another major disaster.
“Now let us organize a hook and ladder company and get a few small fire extinguishers. And in addition, let a good cistern of water stand at the back of each store. These matters are of vital importance and action should be taken at once.”
If you will search the word Fire in the search box, you will find other articles on this subject. It would be years before much was done on this issue even though fire continued to strike over and over again with all its fury.