Fire in Blue Rapids (1872)
by William G. Cutler (1883)

Blue Rapids, in its existence of twelve years, has singularly escaped serious conflagrations common to Western towns, with the exception of a few instances. However, the existence of Blue Rapids, as a town, was nearly wiped out, April 10, 1872, by one of those events that frequently occur in a newly settled country -- a prairie fire.


About noon of the day mentioned a dense cloud of smoke was seen to rise back of the bluffs, south of town, and as a strong breeze was blowing from that direction, an apprehension was felt that the town was in danger, which was soon realized by the appearance of flames that came surging down the bluffs with great velocity. The citizens turned out en masse, and seizing everything that would stop the progress of the flames, rushed to the scene.

The fire first passed over the railroad track and swept along the west side of town to the river, which alone could check it, leaving a lateral column approaching the town at right angles, which monopolized the exertions of one hundred men to keep it in check. The flames also crossed the track on the east side of town and passed on to the river. Here the same efforts were needed, and after all danger was over the gallant fire brigade returned to their homes, blackened, scorched and burnt, but satisfied with their endeavors to save their homes.


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