The fire alarm started ringing in Hailey at 1:30 in the morning and didn’t stop until the sun was well up. A fire had started in the Nevada Bakery. As the fire spread, townspeople saw that a row of frame buildings between the bakery and the Merchant’s Hotel was going to be lost. The hotel, though, was made of brick, so there the fire would stop. Or so they hoped. The flames barely slowed, engulfing the hotel. Other buildings in town were called fireproof, until they were turned to tinder.
Within a couple of hours most of the businesses in Hailey were little more than ash. About four square blocks burned. Remarkably, the conflagration did not touch any residence, and it left the offices of two newspapers standing, as if it wanted nothing more than publicity.