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The Archivist: Beer wins over fire

Mary Phillips: When the ice storage building on and Santa fe caught fire, it was the beer from across the street that knocked down the flames.
BY MARY PHILLIPS, For The Oklahoman Published: February 17, 2014

The headline in The Oklahoman on Dec. 25, 1932, reads: “Building That Beer Saved From Fire Finally Falls.”

The ice storage building of the New State Ice Co. on Second Street at Santa Fe was being demolished.

While the reporter gave the year of the fire as 1903, it was actually Dec. 22, 1905. However, he did allow that he was relying on the memories of “old-timers.”

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The water pressure wasn't much in those days, and when the fire department arrived it was soon discovered that neither the supply nor the pressure was adequate.

“Just across Second Street were the immense vats the New State company used to age good old legitimate beer (it was two years before statehood when alcoholic beverages would be banned), and since there was no water, some one had the happy thought of piping the suds across the street to put the kibosh on the raging flames.

“Everyone who could possibly attend did so, of course, and a roaring throng watched with diverse emotions as the foaming brew was doused on the roaring flames.

“Some thought it would be better to let the building burn while others stiffly opined that they never before had known beer to do any good in this world.

“It was one fire where the boys in blue didn't suffer from the smoke and heat. As quickly as they felt themselves growing faint they stuck their snozzles into the amber geysers and took long cooling draughts of the exhilarating liquid.

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