Tucson, Tuesday, January 23, 1934 --

Fire sweeps through the Congress hotel causing $100,000 worth of damage.

Hotel Congress today
The Hotel Congress still exists and is in business.

Awakened by a frantic 7:30am call from the day clerk, Ms. Helga Nelson, explaining the hotel is on fire, you waste no time in exiting your room and heading down to Congress Street below. Walking around the pumpers, you find a vantage spot in the gathering crowd, all watching the flames and smoke billowing out the windows. A water drenched guest passes by dropping a picture. You reach down, pick it up and hand it back. "Oh, that is just my mother-in-law. This is a good excuse to lose it," comes the reply.

By now the entire Tucson fire department is present, and a ladder truck is busily evacuating guests from the third floor. Unbelievably, two men are risking their necks to carry down a couple of suitcases. "What could they be thinking? Dragging out suitcases when your room's on fire," you wonder aloud.

"You wouldn't believe it, Mister," says a young bystander, "those two guys just paid me ten bucks just to watch the suitcases. Ten bucks! That'll help pay my room and board at the University."

By 8 o'clock the roof collapses and a cupola over the entrance crashes to the ground. The police start to push bystanders back for their safety, so you head up Congress Street in search of a couple of eggs, toast, and a cup of coffee ....

Thanks to overLIB for the popups.

Copyright © 2003. S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.