Tag Archive: Fire

Nov 06

San Miguel fires

This photo of San Miguel appears to be from between 1909 and 1915, Mission in far background.

Digging a little deeper in the San Miguel history folders I found this Lura Rawson column. The town had even more boom and bust cycles than I originally thought. From the Telegram-Tribune May 31, 1990: San Miguel: Like its namesake, a survivor. In an earlier column, I called Mission San Miguel Archangel a survivor among …

Continue reading »

Feb 17

Madonna Inn fire of 1966

Alex Madonna could not resist picking up a loose fire hose but by then a 12 units section was fully involved. San Luis Obispo firefighters  responded to the Madonna Inn May 27, 1966. ©Jim Vestal/Telegram-Tribune

Fires are the bane of hotels. A roll call of lost county landmarks  include the Ramona, Paso Robles Hot Springs and El Paso de Robles. Today public buildings are required to have sprinklers and even California homes built after January 1, 2011 are required to have sprinklers. The Madonna Inn’s first rooms were completed December …

Continue reading »

Jan 23

Horse drawn chemical truck, San Luis Obispo firefighters in 1906

CHEMICAL TRUCK — The latest thing in fire fighting equipment — in 1906, that is—is pictured here in a photo which was presented to the San Luis Obispo fire department by Mrs. Callie M. John in 1948. The gallant volunteers in uniform are as follows: Top row, left to right—Charles Hasse, John Isola, Manuel Lopez, Billie Bambrouck, John Kirkeby, Johnnie Martin, a Mr. Parsons, Henry Berkemeyer, Frank Tercis and Warren M. John. Lower row same order, Frank Soto, Ernest Taylor and Joe Ghigliotti. Volunteer fire companies took great pride in their appearance and equipment.

A little over 100 years ago the pride and joy of the fire department was the horse drawn wagon. This would be state of the art firefighting in San Luis Obispo until 1916 when petrol would replace equine power. This photo was made a year after one of the worst fires in history struck downtown, …

Continue reading »

Dec 30

A former San Luis Obispo fire chief visits

December 27, 1941 war and local news in the then Telegram-Tribune newspaper.

Among the worsening war news on page three of the then Telegram-Tribune was an article that gave a glimpse of life in the late 1800s on the Central Coast. A former fire chief and downtown stable owner visited his friends during the 1941 holiday season. Apparently his skill with people and horses shaped a career …

Continue reading »

Apr 27

Fire department catches fire

San Luis Obispo city hall circa 1938 on Higuera street where Charles Shoes is today. ©The Tribune Top five signs your fire department needs an overhaul. 1. Fire department catches fire. 2. No hydrant wrench on truck to turn on water. 3. Water pressure only reaches the story below the fire. 4. Second fire engine …

Continue reading »

Feb 06

Isobutane tanker cars derail, Grover Beach evacuated

Southern Pacific tanker derailment forces evacuation in what is now Grover Beach. August 11, 1986 edition of the then Telegram-Tribune.

If things went wrong, we were dead, along with everyone in sight around us. Isobutane is unforgiving. A liquid under pressure, it becomes a gas when the pressure is released, making it a fuel for camp stoves or cigarette lighters. At the scene of an isobutane train derailment in what was then Grover City on …

Continue reading »

Aug 04

Cuesta Grade, ghosts of cars past-Opal Ralley Kadet


How many cars and trucks has Cuesta Grade sent to the wrecking yard? My second car, a very used German made Opal Ralley Kadet tore up its automatic transmission as I came south into San Luis Obispo. I was coming back from a north county football assignment during my student internship at the then Telegram-Tribune …

Continue reading »

May 05

Farm Bureau fire

Firefighters mop up after fire destroys Farm Supply warehouse. © 2010 The Tribune/Jim Vestal

Travel through a town and you pass through areas that don’t match up with their surroundings. When something looks out of place I always wonder what the story was behind the change. Today 157 Higuera St. is a gas station next to Sunshine Donuts. Most of the other buildings nearby are steel warehouses. Until late …

Continue reading »

Jan 27

San Luis Obispo Tank Farm Fire

Tank Farm property owned by Chevron. Photo by Jayson Mellom 11-13-06

April 7, 1926 Travel through the Midwest and every barn and silo has a lightning rod on it. Not too many around here. Thunderstorms are rare on the Central Coast, but a recent electric storm set me to thinking about the biggest lightning disaster in the region. Union Oil built the tank farm along the …

Continue reading »

Apr 23

Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel Burns Down

November 22, 1963 When the Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel burned down the city lost a 42-year-old landmark and the Police Department office. They were lucky there were no injuries. The fire broke out at 3 am in the basement and within 45 minutes had raced three stories up the elevator shaft to the roof. …

Continue reading »

Older posts «