Prest-O-Lite Fire Damage

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.
This image depicts a large whole punched through the side of a wooden train box car by debris flying from the Prest-O-Lite building as a result of explosions. 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:

"Hole broken in box car 150 feet from burning building by metal can hurled by force of explosion."


Check out other images from the 1907 fire:

  • Firemen scale ladders to reach second and third floors.
  • A Fireman wades in knee deep water after debris clogged the only sewer drain.
  • Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Charles Coots oversees the work of his firefighter "hose company" teams.


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