#TBT From The NFPA Archives: Ohio Rubber Works Arson Fires, 1909

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Aug 9, 2018

In the summer of 1909, two suspicious fires occurred at a Rubber Works Plant in Akron, Ohio. The first fire started was discovered by the watchman at 4:00AM on the morning of August 12th. 

Pictured here: The attic area of the plant where the fire originated on August 12, 1909.
From the NFPA Quarterly vol. 6, no.2, 1909:
“The attic, where fire occurred, [was] low and not accessible, except by stairways, there being no windows, and firemen had to cut holes in the roof to get at the fire properly. There were several metal ventilators in the roof and evidently the fire spread very rapidly along the wood sheathing, aided by the draft of the ventilators. Fire was under control in about one hour after it started, and damage [was] largely confined to stock of crude rubber, the building and machinery suffering but little damage.”
A second fire occurred a little before 2:00AM. The watchman discovered the fire at the far south end of the property within the frame sheds. In total, the combined loss estimated from the two fires was a little over $100,000. It was the final opinion of investigators that both fires had been intentionally set, though no one was charged in the incidents.
For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives.
The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic.
Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.