One has to wonder after reading so many accounts of so many fires each year, how the citizens of Caddo managed to support each other in times of loss. Some homeowners had insurance, but in the meantime they had to have places to stay, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Most of the time friends and relatives took them in and the churches helped feed and clothe them. But 1927 must have really tested the resources of everyone, because in addition to these and other business and residential fires there were at least 20 homes and barns destroyed by the twister that hit Caddo in April. The Durant paper reported sixty homes damaged. I don’t know where they moved to after this fire, but the Harve Phelps home is one of those listed later as demolished by the twister.
The Caddo Herald
February 26, 1927
Fire Destroyed Gear Home Here Saturday
Saturday afternoon, about 4 o’clock, the old W. T. Craghead home place, one block north of the Catholic Church, was almost completely destroyed by fire. Mr. and Mrs. Jess Gear were living in the house. They, with the assistance of neighbors, succeeded in saving most of the household goods which were damaged considerably by fire and water.
Joe Turner, barber at the Franks’ Barber Shop was boarding at the Gear home and everything in his room save a shirt and scarf was burned.
At the summons of the fire whistle the fire boys arrived on the scene early and aided by volunteer fighters did good work in confining the flames to the roof and interior of the building so that the walls and lower rooms were left standing.
A norther had just blown up and the strong wind made the flames wild, endangering other houses close by.
The dwelling was a fairly nice house and was among the oldest in town. Its valuation was near $1,000.
The fire caught in the upper part of the house and is thought to have been started by Mr. Gear’s four-year-old son who was playing in an upstairs room.
Mr. and Mrs. Gear have moved into the Frank Craghead bungalow, first house north of where they did live.
The Fire Whistle Did Blow
Wednesday evening about 3 o’clock the fire whistle blew and the crowd broke for the home of R. S. Sands. In burning grass about his house, Mr. Sands lost control of the fire which was about to burn up a cow shed. He extinguished the blaze however before the fire-fighters arrived on the scene.
Thursday morning about 4 o’clock, just when everybody was sleeping the soundest, “the wild cat broke out” again and ruined a good night’s sleep for a lot of folks. One of the little shacks east of the railroad near the viaduct was being consumed and as nobody lived in it not much damage was done.
March 25, 1927
Harve Phelps Home Destroyed by Fire
Wednesday night about eleven o’clock the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harve Phelps, in the northeast section of town was destroyed by fire.
The building and all of its contents were a complete loss. Mr. and Mrs. Phelps were away from home and the blaze was not discovered in time for neighbors to save any of the household goods. The damage is estimated to be close to $4,000 with insurance to cover.
Mystery surrounds the origin of the fire. The most likely solution is that it started from a faulty light wire.
The fire carts were called out, but too late to do other than prevent spreading of the flames. A light breeze was blowing out of the northwest and burning shingles were carried several blocks endangering other buildings.
The Phelps house was one of the oldest in Caddo and was a nice dwelling. Mr. Phelps just recently put a new roof on it and was doing other repair work.