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Source Collection

Memphis Press-Scimitar newspaper morgue, Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Libraries




Copy photograph of the roadways attached to the Harahan Bridge across the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee, burning on September 17, 1928. The fire was reportedly started by a discarded cigarette on the creosote-soaked wooden flooring planks near pier #1 about 180 feet from the Memphis side. The fire was fought by six fire companies under the direction of Chief John T Moore. Fire fighters had to physically stretch more than 600 feet of hose to reach the fire. Engine Company #5 under the direction of Captain Connie O’Sullivan, was loaded onto a barge at the foot of Union Avenue and towed to a spot under the bridge to fight the fire from underneath. Firefighters, 80 feet above the river sent down ropes and pulled up two 2 ½” hose lines to fight the fire. The dense smoke from burning creosote also made firefighting difficult. The eastbound lane was totally destroyed. The westbound lane (visible in the photograph) was also extensively damaged. 960 tons of new structural steel and a new roadway were installed over the several months the bridge was closed. A photograph of firefighters dousing the railroad on the bridge is included.

Date Created



1928 September 17

sc.0475.66884_02.014.jpg (1199 kB)
Harahan Bridge fire, 1928