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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

Photo: Durango Hook & Ladder Corp – Ca. 1881-1884

This volunteer group of firefighters included many prominent early Durangoans. In the 1800s, firefighting was particularly dangerous, but these men answered the call to protect their community. A major fire in 1882 destroyed almost 60 structures. In 1889, the town endured its largest fire ever. It burned more than six blocks and caused $500,000 in damages ($14 million in today’s dollars). It also left about 100 families homeless. Luckily, no one was killed in either fire, but the need for a professional fire department became apparent. A paid department was eventually established, the third in the state of Colorado. <br><br>Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org