On May 22, 1964, heavy, black smoke could be seen all over Cedar Rapids, coming from the mega fire that was consuming a one-story warehouse at 1201 Ninth St. SW.
The fire that destroyed the Cedar Rapids Transfer & Storage Co. warehouse ranked “as one of the worst in Cedar Rapids history,” The Gazette reported.
Damage was estimated at more than $3 million -- about $30 million in today’s dollars. The fire drew thousands of onlookers, who watched as burning debris drifted across the city, landing as far east as the Carnegie library downtown. Police quickly put up barricades a block away from the fire to restrict the curious from getting too close.
The fire department’s new double-boom aerial snorkel was used for the first time alongside old pumpers that were taken out of retirement. A gasoline transport rig was pulled in to keep the old pumper trucks running,