On June 22, 1935, in Washington, a fire aided by a brisk south wind, burned buildings of Moss Planing Company, Warner’s Machine Shop, and Mutual Machine Company along with four dwellings. The fire was discovered in a lumber shed at 3:05 A.M.; it spread through the highly flammable lumber. Within twenty minutes, the blaze was out of control. The Washington Fire Department, fearing a large conflagration that would spread through the town, asked for aid from the Greenville Fire Department. People took to the roofs of their homes with buckets to extinguish small blazes. By dawn, the fire was under control, but smothering lumber from the planing business caused firemen to continue spraying water throughout the day.
The fire cause several injuries and one death. Minor burns and smoke inhalation injured twelve fire fighters. The Raleigh News and Observer of June 23, 1938, reported that one fireman “was so severely burned he was ordered to bed by his physician.” David Eugene Jackson, a thirty-four year veteran of the Washington Fire Department, died of a heart failure during the blaze. The News and Observer stated that Jackson’s cardiac arrest occurred “as he fired up the steamer . . . .” Jackson fell into the arms of a fellow fireman. Nurses and doctors from the hospital came to Jackson’s aid. Unfortunately, the firefighter died en route to the hospital. Jackson’s death certificate recorded his cause of death as “cardiac failure from exhaustion and excitement.”
At the time of his death, Jackson was a fifty-five-year-old former carpenter. Bad health had forced him to retire from this profession. For the last nine years, the Beaufort County native’s health had suffered because of a leg infection. Nevertheless, Jackson left instructions with the fire department to call on him although he had an illness.
News and Observer (Raleigh), June 23, 1935, and June 26, 1935.
North Carolina Death Certificate of D. E. Jackson, June 22, 1935, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.
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