Berkeley's Fire of 1923
Anniversary of Fire Finds Area Rebuilt


Anniversary of Fire Finds Area Rebuilt
Berkeley Daily Gazette, September 17, 1927

Today the fourth anniversary of the Berkeley conflagration- finds the devastated area rebuilt with homes and apartments costing close to $4,500,000. But even more important has been that, a repetition of the great fire has been made almost impossible, city officials say, by an adequate water supply for fire purposes in the hill area. Since the disaster there have been 33,550 feet of water mains laid in this area. Of this amount 25,100 are six inch pipes, while 3,300 feet are 12 inch mains.

The City’s fire fighting force has been augmented by 12 men and two major pieces of fire apparatus. Fire towers on Grizzly Peak and Round Top, where watchmen are stationed night and day to watch for fires during the dry season, insure against  grass and brush fires getting beyond control and threatening Berkeley. Since Grizzly Peak tower has been erected 115 hill fires or supposed fires have been reported by the lookout and a squad sent to cope with them.

Two new fire stations have been erected in the area which was swept by flames four years ago this afternoon when $10,000,000. Of building and content were destroyed. The Le Roy Avenue Fire Station which was burned when the fire leveled four city blocks of residences, has been replaced by an artistic fire station at  2550 Virginia street at a cost of $14,787. Here a combination hose-chemical truck, manned by four men in command of Captain Connors, is stationed.

A second fire station has been erected at 1180 Arch Street, costing approximately the same as the Virginia Street station and here are stationed Captain T. A. Andrews and a company of four men. In the so-called fire area there are now 58 new hydrants and 22 other hydrants have been changed over to larger mains.

Protect Entire City

But the hill section alone is not the only part of the city in which additional fire protections have been taken. A total of 415 miles of all sizes of mains have been laid throughout the city since the fire and 305 gallon combination hose and pumping unit costing $12,500. Which is stationed at the Durant Avenue house and the combination of hose and chemical truck now stationed at Engine No. 3 house, Regents and Parker Streets.

This piece of apparatus was build in the fire station’s shop b William C. Slater, Fire Department mechanic at a cost of $3,750, saving the city approximately $6,000 in comparison with what the apparatus would have cost in the open market. Berkeley’s Fire Department now consists of five engine companies, four hose companies, two chemical companies, and a truck company. There are a total of 94 Officers and men.

Hills are Rebuild
New residences and apartments, fraternity and sorority house and other buildings today adorn the district which at 6 o’clock four years ago lay in shouldering ruins. Undying faith in Berkeley has resulted in citizens building a better Berkeley, an immense area of artistic homes equal to any district in the country. Only here and there is still to be seen reminders of the conflagration. Another year and probably these will disappear.

In the year following the fire $1,887,349n went into rehabilitation of the devastated area. The next year saw $982,375 in new homes. Between September 17, 1925 and 1926, permits for new structures having an estimated cost of $842,521 were issued. This past year, close to $500,000 has gone into new buildings in this area.

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