#TBT from the NFPA Archives: Dallas Department Store Fire - December 19, 1964

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Dec 22, 2016

December 19, 1964 - Dallas Department Store Fire (image source: Dallas Fire Department)

(Photograph courtesy of Dallas Fire Department)


During this holiday season with decorations and shopping all around us, we remember one of the most costly department store fires in history. 


From the NFPA Fire Journal v. 59, no. 3, 1965

"During the early-morning hours of Saturday, December 19, 1964, fire of undetermined cause started in display materials near the open escalators in the second story of the seven-story Neiman-Marcus Company Department Store. The fire spread upward by way of the escalator openings to the fifth story, where the escalators terminated. At the time of the fire, the store was heavily stocked with merchandise for the Christmas season. The $7,240,000 estimated property damage was the largest dollar-loss building fire in the United States in 1964 and the largest loss in the history of Dallas, Texas. Business interruption loss was set at $2,800,000... As a result of the December 1964 fire, the store officials decided to install a complete system of central-station supervised automatic sprinklers throughout the building."


For more information regarding these or other historic fires, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Library. The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.