Fire destoryed the 75-room Curry Hotel eraly Tuesday morning, April 9. In about an hour's time after the fire was discovered, all that remained of the historic structure were smoldering ashes, two tall chimneys and a tangle of pipes.
News of the tragedy, given by the Curry operator over the dispatcher's voice circuit, numbed the entire railroad.
On Way To Town
Ironically, about 12 Curry residents, including eight men, had boarded the "Midnight Sun" passenger train at 4:15 a,m, to go into Anchorage for the day. They got their first word of the fire when the train reached Wasilla.
In Anchorage they checked, through the morning, with the chief dispatcher's office for the news they dreaded to hear and which came about 11 o'clock from J. H. Lloyd, general manager, who had flown to the scene: Three people had perished in the flames.
Only Handful Left
With so many Curry people taking the train that morning, only a handful of permanent residents were in the community when the fire broke out.
The fire burned so rapidly, the hotel could not be saved and efforts were devoted to wetting the houses nearby and removing furniture.
Curry's source of water is Dead Horse Creek. The water is piped almost two miles from a dammed-up reservior. The fire fighting equipment included hose carts, auxiliary pumps, and hydrants.
By the time the first railroad officials arrived from Anchorage the hotel was gone. Llyod, accompanied by John E. Manley, assistant general manager; R. H. Bruce, general superintendent of operations, and a lineman flew in shortly before 9 o'clock on a Fish and Wildlife Service plane.
Bruce E. Cannon, engineer of structures, accompanied by Carl G. Nelson, electrical engineer, Douglas Horn, a plumber and Special Agent James robertson took a gas car.
At Healy, Trainmaster William C. Davidson, Safety Engineer Joseph C. MacKenzie, B & B. Supervisor George McCeig and District Roadmaster George Calloway were routed from their hotel beds and sent south by gas car.
Because the Alaska Communication System telegraph office was located in the hotel, its facilities were lost and direct word with Curry was cut off for several hours. A patched-up phone circuit was established from a pole near the hotel site.
The second house south of the hotel
was taken over for a new communications center and depot office.
Temporary equipment was provided by the ACS and the railroad communications
branch and sent north in a troop sleeper from