Loudonville popcorn fire

The Loudonville popcorn fire took place in 1940.

Loudonville's history is built upon the ashes of many tragic fires, such as that of 1901, when nearly half of downtown Loudonville was reduced to rubble.

But perhaps no fire was as comically cruel as that of 1940.

On Aug. 31, 1940 around 2:20 p.m., H.G. Heffelfinger's popcorn wagon in Central Park erupted in a large blaze. At the same time Charles Cavano, a lawyer from Cleveland, was driving through town and stopped to snap a photograph of the tragic event.

Apparently the residents of Loudonville were too busy enjoying the show -- and perhaps munching on their popcorn -- because it wasn't until Cavano told them to call the fire department that anyone bothered to sound the alarm.

The firemen arrived in a few minutes, and in the meantime Cavano was able to snap a photograph of the blaze for posterity's sake.

Cavano sent the photograph and a letter to Mayor Smith, commenting that the sign "Hot Pop Corn and Peanuts" was unnecessary, as they were certainly hot.

More information on the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum can be found at this link.

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