Army of 1,500 Guards Town In Danger Of Fire
Susanville In Momentary Peril From Flames; Four Homes Go; Stores, Mills Close
July 20, 1924
An army of 1,500 men is camped about the city limits of Susanville tonight, guarding the town against destruction by forest fire, threatened throughout the day.
All business houses and the two large lumber mills were closed today as the flames entered the city limits and destroyed four houses. All available men joined the fight.
For hours this afternoon the residents were in momentary fear that the entire town would be wiped out.
A solid wall of flame hovered at the edge of the Lassen county metropolis.
The blare of fire whistles from the lumber mills called out all workers, and businessmen also rushed to the scene of the blaze.
Fire at Hospital
Patients were removed from the county hospitals when the fire, a menace to the city Sunday, again broke from control this morning and showered sparks about the building. As the flames crept into the hospital year 15 men and women inmates were taken to the Riverside hospital in the eastern part of Susanville.
Westwood sent 50 men and equipment to assist on checking the fire.
The flames crossed the right of way of the Southern Pacific railroad but trains went through on schedule.
After being brought partially under control last night, the fire flared up anew at about noon, sweeping everything before it for a stretch of three miles, until it reached the city limits. Hills to the south and southwest of Susanville are covered only with charred stumps of trees.
The houses destroyed were in the Winchester addition n the southern section of the town.
Water Supply Fails
Pumps were used to protect the enormous piles of lumber in the Lassen Lumber and Box company and the Fruit Growers’ Supply company yards. The water was taken from the mill ponds and ditches. In many cases this afternoon, however, the supply was completely depleted.
Where the supply of water ran out, only the chance that sparks failed to fall, saved valuable property in the mills and town.
With the fire line at the city limits, women of Susanville worked this afternoon and evening preparing food for the fighters, who will remain on duty tonight.
A second fire in Lassen County was reported to the Fruit Growers’ Supply company at its camp F, 30 miles northwest of Susanville, toward Redding. The fire is near the highway and burning exceptionally valuable timber. Every available man from the camps has been sent to check on the fire which is reported being swept before a high wind, towards Eagle Lake.
Telephone lines between the camp and Susanville are down and detailed information of the blaze is lacking.