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Electrical Short Circuit Sets North Bend Fire in 1933

  Firemen blamed an electrical short circuit in the Western Battery and Separator Co. for sparking a major blaze in North Bend the evening of July 30, 1933.  Among businesses seriously damaged were the Kruse and Banks Shipyard, the Mountain States Power Company and Western Battery, where the fire started.  Flames engulfed the three buildings within 15 minutes.

All 60 employees escaped unhurt.
Fire fighters from Marshfield and North Bend brought the fires under control, and extinguished spot brush fires ignited by flying sparks.
The fire destroyed several float houses at anchor on the waterfront, and threatened homes on a hillside near the fire. Estimated losses at three shipways and some sheds at Kruse and Banks amounted to $190,000.  The battery plant estimated losses at $65,000, and the power company reported damages of between $85,000 and $100,000. 
The power plant kept electricity flowing to the community while repairs were made by converting its burners from sawdust to oil.
Approximately 2,000 people stood on a nearby hill to watch the fire.  Its glow was for 14 miles.
Source: Coos Bay Times 31 July 1933. Print

Shirley Nelson moved to Port Orford on Oregon's South Coast, after having lived 28 years in Medford.  A writer since childhood, she became an elementary school teacher.  As an interested observer of her new environment, Shirley learned the history of Curry and Coos counties. She published a book in 2005 about Coos and Curry counties titled What Happened Here?.  Nelson has published articles and poetry in several magazines, including Oregon Coast.