On the day of the fire Ardmoreite Doyle Williams took a video of the fire with an 8mm color camera. He has graciously made the 3 minute film available on CD and sent me one of the CDs.
What others have said:
May 1998: “I remember well the day the Viaduct burned. I was an 11 year old kid, and lived 5 or 6 blocks from it. I can remember how scared I was as the black billowing smoke rose into the sky. I wondered if the whole town of Ardmore was going to burn. My aunt, Eloise Longino, lived on the dirt road right to the south of the Viaduct, which placed it right in her front yard. The dedicated firemen kept their hoses on her house, dousing it, in hopes that even though the fire was less than 50 ft from her house, it would remain standing. And it did. I remember it as being a pretty bleak day in Ardmore.”
May 1998: “I remember it well, the thick, black smoke rising high into the sky. Several firemen were treated at the hospital from fighting the blaze. Treated at the hospital were Don Moinette, Jackie Pilgram, Pete Middleton, Oscar Hutchinson, Jack Cumbie and a volunteer Earl Ashcraft. Fire Chief Jim Ozment said 5 city fire trucks were used in fighting the fire. There were also many area fire trucks sent in to help. One home was destroyed by the burning viaduct. The home, located at 512 “B” Street NE, belonged to Mrs. Cordia Davis. Mrs. Davis had four children, Debbie, Edwin, Gene, and Kathy. No one at the Davis home was injured. The original viaduct was built in 1908, and reconstructed in the 1930s. City officials speculated the viaduct would not be replaced, since there were other streets connecting the northeast part of town with the rest of the city. But you who live here in Ardmore knows there is concrete viaduct in place of the old creosote pole viaduct.”
July 2001: “I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the article about the old viaduct fire….and with good reason. My family lived at 523 F St., just 3 houses down from the viaduct, and when it caught fire, my mother was frantic, worrying about sparks drifting over & catching our house on fire as well. So she grabbed up pictures, clothes, and mementos and started loading them in the car so if it came to it, we would not lose everything. It was a terrifying few hours for all of us living in that close proximity to the burning bridge.”
June 2003: “I had heard about the burning of the fifth avenue viaduct (called “the big viaduct” when I was a boy) because “the little viaduct” on fourth avenue NE stretched only across three tracks).”
June 2003: A Reader sent me some really nice Kodak photos taken July 4, 1964 of the Ardmore’s big viaduct fire. Those of you who lived here then and saw that solid black creosote smoke will never forget it. The smoke from that oily creosote was pitch black.
Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6
June 2003: “I had heard about the burning of the fifth avenue viaduct (called “the big viaduct” when I was a boy) because “the little viaduct” on fourth avenue stretched only across three tracks). I welcome the pictures you included in last week’s THIS AND THAT. Nice of Doyle Williams to share his video.” -Lorenz Boyd
March 2004: “I was just recently made aware of your website and enjoyed the old Washington school years and especially the 1964 viaduct fire video. It’s like a window into the past. As you know we lived right next to to the viaduct on the east side, and there are several shots of our house in the video. I will never forget that day, and I remember you and others from the neighborhood in our backyard watching this awesome event.