July 23, 1916
Austin Fire Department (TX)
Number of Line-of-Duty Deaths:
Remembering Austin Fire Department's First Line-of-Duty Death:
Photo credits: © Austin Fire Department/Preston Culver; Austin Fire MuseumOn July 23, 1916, a fire at the three-story Kreisle Building located at Congress Avenue and 4th Street began just after 1:00 pm. Initial reports described fire coming from the rear of the Bell Motor Company; soon afterward, explosions were heard. The raging fire affected several businesses—and threatened to consume the entire block.
- The Kreisle Building stored a vast inventory of ammunition and explosives. It also housed a tire company, which was where the fire originated. Through the valiant efforts of firefighters, the fire was brought under control before the flames reached the explosives.
- A neighboring building, home to the telephone company with over 100 employees, was safely evacuated before part of the roof collapsed. But this left the city of Austin without phone service until repairs could be made.
- Other adjacent buildings were also damaged in the fire—including a hardware store, seed merchant, plumbing supply, and motor company.