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The 1918 Fire: Blinded by Smoke

The 1918 Fire:  Blinded by Smoke

Dense smoke during the 1918 Fire eliminated visibility, as witness the plight of these wayward cars.  Horses fared no better.  Years later, a story in Lutheran Voice magazine by Pastor J.E. Nopola of St. Matthew’s Church recounted how local farmer Antti Pykkonen tried to help 24 people escape in his horse-drawn wagon. “About a mile from home the horses lost the road in the smoke,” Dr. Nopola reported, and the wagon box and passengers toppled into the ditch.  They hoisted the box back on the wagon, he said, but within another mile the fire was so intense they had to turn back.  Taking another road, they came to the river and spent the night on a bridge. “The next morning the prospects of survival were much brighter.  Upon returning home Antti found…the house and barn standing on the homestead among the smoldering ruins of the neighborhood and burnt carcasses of the cattle.” (Photo courtesy of Viola Korby and Lynda Nordstrom Korby from ‘The Fury of the Flames,’ published in 1919 by Martin A. Olmem, Duluth) 

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