Prest-O-Lite Fire, August 1907

This image supported an extensive Indianapolis Star article published August 18, 1907 that reported on the massive downtown Indianapolis explosion at the Prest-O-Lite factory owned by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founders Carl Fisher and James Allison.
A fireman is seen wading through water that collected in the street during the fire fight. Reports indicated that debris stopped up a sewer and had to be cleared so the excess water could drain. Despite significant damage to the building and those of nearby neighbors, no one was seriously hurt during the conflagration. Check out the article for more information about the fire, Prest-O-Lite and the acetylene gas technology behind it. Prest-O-Lite sold the first effective headlights for automobiles - based on compressed acetylene gas technology.
The cutline for the photo read as follows:
"Firemen waded through a veritable lake."
Check out other images from the 1907 fire:

  • Firemen scale ladders to reach second and third floors.
  • Shattered planks of wood train box car reflect the force of flying brass canisters hurled by acetylene explosions.
  • Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Charles Coots oversees the work of his firefighter "hose company" teams.


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