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Fort Worth, Texas News

Massive Fire at Fort Worth's Historic Cantina Cadillac Bar Draws Multiple Fire Departments' Response

Photo courtesy of Glen E. Ellman/FWFD

On Saturday evening, August 5, 2023, at approximately 8:15 pm, the Fort Worth Fire Department was confronted with a devastating fire that engulfed the rear of the iconic Cantina Cadillac Bar, located at the bustling intersection of Exchange and Ellis streets.

The fire broke out just as Fort Worth Fire Department Engine 12 was returning from another call, and they quickly noticed the large volume of flames consuming the rear section of the historic establishment. The situation was further complicated by a broken gas line, which fueled the flames and made it exceptionally challenging for firefighters to contain the inferno.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the crew immediately called for an alarm assignment, summoning additional fire companies to the scene. The fire escalated rapidly, reaching a 3-alarm level, and firefighting efforts stretched on for an exhausting two hours before it was finally declared under control.

During the firefight, firefighters faced numerous obstacles that tested their skills and resources. A poor water supply in the area hampered their efforts, and congested traffic and crowded parking lots made it difficult to maneuver trucks into strategic positions. Additionally, hundreds of onlookers gathered on the streets, drawn by the popular location and the busy Saturday night atmosphere in the #stockyards.

The severity of the incident necessitated a significant response, with 5 fire chiefs, 7 aerial ladders, and 15 fire engines deployed to battle the blaze. In a show of solidarity, several neighboring cities' fire departments, including River Oaks Fire Department, Saginaw, Sansom Park Fire Department, and City of Lake Worth Fire Department, provided valuable assistance.

Despite the immense challenges, the determined firefighters were successful in containing the fire to the century-old Cantina Cadillac Bar itself, preserving the integrity of the other cherished historic buildings in the area. Their valiant efforts prevented any extensive damage from spreading to neighboring structures.

Fortunately, there were no reported injuries as a result of the fire. However, the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, and authorities are working diligently to determine the circumstances that led to the destructive incident.

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