Children playing with flares and dynamite caps are believed to be the cause of a blaze that razed a lumber yard, damaged an adjoining 4-story distilling plant, destroyed three houses, and partially burned three others. The children reportedly stole flares and dynamite caps from the nearby rail yard around 5;50 PM in the  evening of November 6, 1950, ran across the street and began to light them off on the dock of the Diamond Match Company.

A company worker caught the boys and extinguished the fires he found, but unfortunately, he missed one. The fire soon consumed the dock and quickly spread with a south-east wind into the match company’s warehouse located on Meadow street. The warehouse, inside and outside, lumber storage, and dock were quickly involved.

The growing flames soon threatened the large concrete and brick Esbeco Distilling Co. plant which housed, among other flammables, a vat containing 5,000 gallons of raw alcohol. Chief Veit feared the spread to this structure could wipe out the entire neighborhood of thirty old wooden houses, warehouses, another lumber yard, industrial structures, and railroad freight yards. With that, Chief Veeit ordered four 2-1/2″ lines to be placed in the structure to wet down the distilling plant. The fire did manage to enter the distillery but was stopped by the firefighters manning the interior hose lines.

The fire soon spread to three of the exposed houses across Meadow Street.  The homes were just less than 100 feet from the burning lumber storage. They were soon fully involved, and several others began to burn as occupants fled the scene. Families in other houses threatened with destruction evacuated their homes as firefighters struggled to confine the fire, which was consuming everything in its path, including fences, an automobile, and power and light and telephone poles and wires.

Thirteen city firemen, a member of the Springdale volunteer department, and a civilian were injured or overcome fighting the blaze.

Stamford Advocate Article



The Esbeco Distilling Company Building As It Looks Today

On the Map