140 years ago today - Jun 21, 1883

[Wilford Woodruff]
21 I was awakened this morning about 12.30 with the ringing of a fire Bell. I steped to the window and saw a large fire East of me near By. I Called up the family & Dressed and while putting on my hat ready to go out and Standing By my East window An Iron waggon standing in H. B. Clawsons waggon yard with 800 lb of Powder Exploded which filled the air with Iron timber & fire brands which flung fire over the Block and saw Clawsons waggon yard & Buildings all in flames. Also the Council House[,] Savages & others were soon on fire.

I vary soon saw the Big Tabernacle start to blaze on the East side of the Roof. Soon an opening was made through the gates and a Man was got on the top of the Roof of the Tabernacle with a Bucket of water. Allthough He was 40 feet above the fire he flung the water and it struck square into the fire and put it mostly out. He still Called for water but I Could find No buckets. I ran home got a Bucket & key & opened the west door & Carried a Bucket of water to the spot but when I got there the Hose had arived & poured water onto the Roof.

I went Back into the Street and I found the Explosion of the Gunpowder had Broaken out nearly all the Glass of all the surrounding Buildings. I found all the doors & windows of the Musium Broaken in and the dry grass East of the Musium on fire. With the Assistance of Brother L J Nuttall & others we put it out And I placed a guard over the building and its Contents. It burned down Clawson Esstablishment[,] Council House [the first public building in Salt Lake,] Savages Art Gallery[,] Sorrenson & Co. & several others. The damage was laid at $75 to $100,000. It was Estimated that $20,000 dollars worth of Glass was broaken out By the Explosion. The Valley House & my own house [was] badly damaged.

[Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]

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