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Neiman-Marcus Fire (1964)

Dallas Firefighters Museum

Sound | 1964

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  •  Neiman-Marcus at Commerce and Ervay Streets in Dallas 
  •  Christmas decorations light up downtown Dallas 
  •  A large fire at the department store 
  •  Extending the ladder to the fifth floor to access the children’s department, which suffered the most damage during the fire 
  •  Dark smoke escaping into the sky 
  •  A crowd in front of the historic Wilson Building, which housed the H. L. Green Variety Store and Texaniare Cafete 
  •  Taking a breather from the flames and smoke 
  •  A pile of oxygen tanks on the ground 
  •  Icicle-lined structures juxtaposing the inflamed building 
  •  An impressive display of merchandise ruined by fire and water 
  •  Beginning repairs on the heavily damaged building 
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On December 19, 1964, at 3:42 am, a watchman at the original Neiman-Marcus department store in downtown Dallas called in a fire. Originating at the second-floor escalator well, the fire soon grew in ferocity. It required the skills of over 400 firefighters for more than five hours. Responders finally controlled the flames by 8:30 am, but the damage was extensive. The $9 million-worth of lost merchandise and needed repairs amounted for almost half the store’s entire estimated net worth at the time. The store was forced to close for two weeks during the peak holiday shopping season. Produced by Fire Department Training Chief R. R. Simmons and Chief F. J. Douglas, this film serves to educate firefighters, business owners, and regular Dallas residents on fire safety.
The Dallas Firefighters Museum’s film collection captures a variety of activities performed by the Dallas Firefighters.  While a few films focus on fire fighting and training, most feature community events such as the fair, toy repair, pump races, and even a Miss Flame pageant.
The Dallas Firefighter's Museum is housed in one of the city's oldest fire stations; the building served as a working fire station from the time it was built in 1907 until 1975, when the museum took over. The museum aims to preserve the rich history of the Dallas Fire Department through exhibits and educational experiences. The museum’s primary goal is to teach fire safety to children and widen its outreach to the Dallas community. Visit their website at http://www.dallasfiremuseum.com.