The Great Fire of July 1, 1921

On a Monday afternoon the town of Oatman was devastated by the most destructive fire in its history; practically half of the business district and probably forty residences being completely destroyed.

Just how the fire started remains a mystery: one rumor has it that it was caused by a woman in the ST. FRANCIS HOTEL cleaning clothes with gasoline, the clothing catching fire and being thrown into a pile of rubbish in the alley between the ST. FRANCIS and the OATMAN HOTEL ANNEX.

Another rumor is to the effect that boys with fireworks started it. In any event, it seems to have originated in a rubbish pile between the two hotels.

When the fire department reached the scene, within two minutes after the alarm was given, the fire had reached the eves of the ANNEX. The heat was terrific, making it practically impossible for the fireman to get within hose distance.

Within seven minutes from the ringing of the fire bell, the flames had completely covered the ST. FRANCIS, and the OATMAN ANNEX and the FISHER building and OATMAN THEATRE across the street were inflames.

The St. Francis Hotel is in the center of the picture. To the left is the Oatman Hotel Annex and the right is the Oatman Hotel. The majority of the buildings in this photograph were destroyed in the fire of 1921.

The entire town turned out enmasse to fight the flames. Had the day been windy doubtless the entire town, including the plants of the UNITED EASTERN and TOM REED GOLD MINES companies would have gone up in smoke. At the time of the fire, Oatman's population was estimated at 5000 to 8000 people.

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