In its July 22, 1926 edition The Bossier Banner reported that the Bossier Parish Courthouse had caught fire. This courthouse was the one built in Benton in 1893 and not replaced until 1969.
“Fire, thought to have been caused by a backfire from the Delco light plant, destroyed the engine house and store room at the Court House here Friday afternoon, causing in the neighborhood of $5000 [in] damages.”
“The flames spread so rapidly that in a few minutes after the fire was detected the entire engine room was afire. The building, which contained a Delco light plant, a water pump and gasoline engine, as well as a quantity of oils, greases and other essentials, was of sheet metal construction, which to a great extent kept the flames from spreading to the Court House proper—only a few yards away.”
“The roofing of the Court House, being of slate, prevented the fire from spreading to it from the engine house.”
“Those directing the firefighting shot holes into the large water tank that stood directly above the burning building on a steel tower in order to get a supply of water to play on the flames from the oil-soaked barrels and building only grew blacker and ascended higher.”
“The heat soon grew too strong for the steel tower, and without any warning the tank collapsed, throwing a mighty spray of water across the Court House yard, much to the excitement of the fleeing spectators.”
“Not until the window casing and roof of the south side of the jail caught were the prisoners removed. They made excellent firefighters.”
“A bucket brigade was formed and the jail was quickly protected from further onslaught of the fire.”
Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to see photos of this courthouse, or see the photos at www.bossierlibrary.org under the heading “Collections Database.” The photograph collection at the Historical Center also includes photos of the second courthouse at Bellevue when Bellevue was the parish seat.