The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

24 February 2014

A Tragic Fire

 My grandfather's business and his dreams were burned down in 1959. Below is an excerpt from my article "A Baca Family in Socorro County, New Mexico: 1808- Present" (New Mexico Genealogist 44, December 2010, p. 199.)

On Wednesday, March 13, 1959, at 3:30 PM, my grandparent’s business burned down. At the time, only two businesses were operating in the building: Baca’s Clothier’s and Scotty’s Hardware and Appliance Company. The fire apparently started in a locked shop in the rear of the building. Since the phone lines had burned, employees were unable to immediately make a call to the Socorro Hose Company. In little over an hour, the entire building was lost. The only good news was that my grandparent’s home, which was located just west of the building, escaped damage.[1] Two weeks later, it was estimated that my grandfather lost $50,000 in building and stock, while the owner of the other business, J.E. Scott, lost up to $100,000 in merchandise. Neither business owner believed that their insurance would cover their entire losses; my grandfather estimated that only half of his claim would be paid. The newspaper reports at the time indicated that this was one of the worst fires in Socorro history.[2]

Santiago would not rebuild his business. Within two years, he would be gone. Santiago died suddenly at home on 19 July 1961.[3]

Photos of the Baca Clothier/Scotty's Appliances fire

[1] “Fire Destroys Two Stores: Scotty’s and Baca’s Clothiers Gutted Today by Roaring Flames”, El Defensor - Socorro County News, Socorro, New Mexico, 13 May 1959, pp. 1 & 8
[2] Untitled caption to three photos of the Scotty/Baca fire, El Defensor - Socorro County News, Socorro, New Mexico, 27 May 1959, p. 1.
[3] "Albuquerque Journal obituaries", Santiago Baca obituary, 20 July 1961. Retrieved from the Albuquerque Special Collections Library databases, retrieved 10 May 2008.

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