#Petaluma’s First Firefighter James Mott Not Forgotten

A book called the Golden Memories of the Redwood Empire says the fire was started when a nail in a workman’s shoe had struck sparks as a Model-T Ford was being gassed up at Misner’s Garage on Main Street.  When the sparks ignited spilled gasoline, mechanics pushed the flaming vehicle out into the street and rang in an alarm.  Mott raced to the scene reported skidding twice on the pavement as he pulled the wagon to the fire. It’s also reported that Bart had fallen twice and then galloped away from the fire just before the explosion.

An Oregon news paper company reported the following.  The misspelling is how Positively Petaluma found this record.

PETALtlMA. Oct 20. (Special.)
More than 20 persons, Including members of the volunteer and paid fire department and the Mayor of the city, were seriously burned at 9:15 o'clock todav when the gasoline tank of an automobile exploded on upper Main street. In the heart or tne pummm section. The car caught fire while being demonstrated in the Misner garage and as soon as help could bs secured the burning car was pushed from the garage to the street. While this was being done the fire alarm was sounded. A great crowd gathered. Gasoline Tank Explodes. Without warning the tank exploded, tearing the machine to pieces. People were struck with flying pieces of wood and machinery, while firemen who were trying to extinguish the flames and they and many bystanders were covered with gasoline were seriously burned. The news quickly spread throughout the city and in a few minutes after the accident the -city ambulance, automobiles and other vehicles were called to carry the' injured to the Petaluma Hospital, where City Jailer Mott. driver of the hose wagon, and Morris Hickey, chief electrician of the PacificGas & Electric Light Company, are in dangerous condition. Last reports from the hospital are that HIckey may not survive. Mayor Seriously Burned. Mayor Zartman, member of the volunteer fire department, was seriously burned and immediately after he received his Injuries he was taken to his home on Liberty street and he is now' under the care of leadin physicians of the city. William Brandon, who was also fighting the fire and who was seriously injured In the rush of the people, is also at the Zartman home. Dan Kamp, a livery stable owner, and Will Stewart, a carpenter, are among those seriously burned and are at the hospital. The others who were at first rushed to the hospital and whose burns were slight have gone to their homes. The list of those burned and seriously Injured is: Mayor Zartman, Joe Steiger. Chester Stone, son of Dr. Stone, Will Stewart, William Dickson, Morris, Morris Hickey, School Director Campbell, H. J. Meyers, Dan Kamp, William Brandon and James Mott. Twelve more received slight burns and have gone to their homes. Many of the Petaluma physicians were in the country on pleasure trips when the accident occurred. All the nurses in the city were rushed to the hospital. The explosion was felt for many blocks and plat glass windows In the vicinity were broken. Accident Is Unexplained. An instant after the explosion the walks were filled with maddened men beating at their burning hair and clothes. Those who were not injured tore off their coats and did what they could to help smother the flames. The accident has not been explained and probably never will be. "The machine was in the garage when it caught fire. It was wheeled to the street and an alarm was rung In. The department turned out its chemical apparatus and a stream from the hydrant was turned on. The Instant the water struck the hot metal, one end of the tank blew out with only a slight report. The crowd had formed about the machine in two semicircles, one on the sidewalk and the other on the street Those on the sidewalk were unhurt Those on the street facing the exploding end of the tank, received the fiery blast full in face, and chest

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