Historical Details

Fire: Boyd Chevrolet Garage

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/06/1938

The Lusk Herald, January 6, 1938


11Chevrolets, 2 Olds, 1 Buick, 5 Other Cars Destroyed in Fire Which Guts Paint and Body Shop

Disastrous Blaze Started By Workmen Filling Gas Tank of Car With Siphon; Loss Estimated Close to $40,000; Rock in Water Line Hampers Firemen in Most Costly Fire in Lusk in May Years; Insurance Adequate

Fire which broke out shortly after 11:00 o'clock today (Thursday) at the old Lusk Laundry building, which has been used by the Boyd Chevrolet Company as a body and paint shop, and also for storage, almost completely destroyed the building, together with nineteen automobiles, fourteen of which were new cars awaiting delivery to purchasers.

The new cars were composed pf 11 new Chevrolets of various models, two Oldsmobiles, and one Buick. Three other cars were used cars in the paint shop and two other cars belonged to customers, one to Don Taylor or Lance Creek, and the other to Mr. Hemphill of Lusk.

The fire is said to have started when one of the employees was engaged in siphoning gas from one care to a bucket too close to a stove and while an acetylene torch was burning. The fumes of gasoline which travel close to the floor in clouds undoubtedly were wafted too near the stove or torch and an explosion followed.

Dale Martin, one of the workmen suffered slight burns when his pants caught fire, but he soon put out the blaze.

An effort was made by workmen to put out the fire with fire extinguisher, but while they put up a good fight the inflammable material provided too good food for the flames and they were unsuccessful.

 The Volunteer Fire Department arrived in record time, but when they turned the streams of the fire the hose became clogged with small rocks which had dropped into the main, and they estimate they lost at least 10 minutes before they could remedy the trouble.

The water mains were laid some time ago when the new bridge was built over the Niobrara river, and in re-laying the pipe, gravel about half the size of hen egg had been allowed to accumulate in the main, which immediately went through to the nozzle of the the hose when the pressure was applied.

Shortly after the fire started exploding gasoline from the car tanks sprayed over the other cars and the whole building was soon a blazing inferno and the streams of water had little effect.

The fire burned until almost 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, but it was placed under control within about an hour after it started.

Fire Chief Peyton was in Lance Creek when the fire broke out, he and young Ed Arnold, son of Tom Arnold, having taken a plane trip to the field. Peyton saw the fire when they were near the Magoon ranch, and the pilot threw his throttle wide open and headed for town. After circling the fire they landed at the field south of town and Peyton went immediately to the fire. He said they were just seven minutes coming from Lance Creek to the Landing field.


Dade Boyd, owner of the Boyd Chevrolet, and Harry Bangsburg, his office manager, were in Casper at the time of the fire and did not arrive home until in the afternoon. While the new cars and the cars belonging to customers were covered by insurance, Mr. Boyd will face a heavy loss in the equipment and building. Five employees who worked there will be out of employment until the shop can be rebuilt or a new location is secured.

While no authentic figures are available at this time, it is estimated the loss will be between $35,000 and $50,000. Mr. Boyd's personal loss may come close to $15,000. A motor boat which Mr. Boyd has been using for fishing in Jackson Lake, and which was stored at the plant, was destroyed in the fire.

The Boyd Chevrolet Co. wishes to extend thanks to the Lusk Volunteer Fire Department for their prompt response and for their efforts in trying to save the building and contents.

Fire Chief Peyton requested The Herald to again warn car drivers who race to fires and get in the way of the fire truck. During this fire two cars cut in around the fire truck and were in the way when the fire wagon started stretching hose. The chief says if this occurs again the offenders will be given Police Court tickets.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Business Auto Dealer: Boyd Chevrolet View Record