On July 3, 1928, Raleigh's renowned Yarborough Hotel caught fire. Fire was discovered about 1:30 p.m. at the base of the elevator shaft. Flames soon spread to both a basement stock room and up the shaft to the attic. Upon arrival, Assistant Fire Chief Earlie B. Smith ordered the laying of all available hose while he searched for the seat of the fire. Thousands watched as the entire fire department, plus units from Smithfield and Durham, battled the blaze. Prisoners in the county jail across street peered through their iron bars, a captive audience. Nearly a half-mile of hose was laid and a reported 750,000 gallons of water were used as 15 streams poured into the building for hours. Firefighters also rescued the hotel manager's wife and two children, trapped in their third-floor room. Former Raleigh Fire Chief Sherwood Brockwell assisted, entering the burning structure several times and nearly ruining another suit in the process. The hotel was built in 1850 and covered three-quarters of a block of Fayetteville Street.
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