Editor's Note: This story has been revised to correct the name of Ross E. Morres, who was killed in the fire. Morres was Cherokee, not Washoe as reported.
Tahoe-Douglas firefighters restored a memorial in honor of the 95th anniversary of a fire that killed five men on Sept. 28, 1926, in Clear Creek Canyon.
The fire started at the base of Clear Creek at the Smith Ranch beyond Jacks Valley, according to The Oct. 1, 1926 edition of The Record-Courier.
“Mrs. Smith rode to the Chas. Fulstone ranch for help, believing that the fire could be checked without difficulty,” the newspaper reported. “However, despite the heroic work of the men from the Fulstone ranch, the fire spread rapidly and fanned by a heavy wind, rapidly gained headway and burned over several thousand acres of timber and brush.”
Three of the five men killed in the fire were dead by the newspaper’s deadline.
“The fire spread so rapidly that it was but a short time bef0ore the entire mountainside was a seething mass of flames,” the newspaper reported. “The high wind carried the fire toward Carson and hundreds of men were called out to fight the fire. Art Sunday, fire patrolman and Bryant Whitmore, a prison guard, were caught in the fire on Kings Canyon Road, where they were endeavoring to check its spread, and have but little chance of recovery.”
Killed outright in the fire were V&T section worker Ross E. Morres and inmates George Brown and J.E. Mitchell.
Both Brown and Mitchell would have been paroled shortly for good behavior.
“They volunteered to give assistance at the fire and went into the mountains unguarded,” the paper reported.
Morres had been employed by the railroad for many years and was a Native American who left a widow and several children.
According to the report, the smoke was so thick in Carson City that lights had to be turned on at 2 p.m. in order to see.
“Everybody in the town were apprehensive and homes were sprinkled with water to lessen the possibility of fire,” The R-C said. “The Carson fire department played a stream of water on the capitol building and gloom was prevalent.”
Many men from Gardnerville and Minden responded to help extinguish the fire, which could be seen from Carson Valley.
On Wednesday, Tahoe Douglas Fire Marshal Eric Guevin said the fire in Clear Creek had winds similar to those which prompted the power to be shut off on Monday.
Firefighters used bluing to restore the letters to visibility on Wednesday.
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