Town of Pendleton
The two-story Pendleton Town Hall, fire station and police headquarters stood here. On the night of January 9, 1936, as town board members met on the second floor, some men sat talking on the first. Irvin Taylor, a 50-year-old Pendleton toolmaker, dropped his glasses through a grate in the floor. Town Marshal Galand Brookbank helped remove a manhole cover on an old cistern, and Taylor went down to look for them. Someone in the room lit a match and the building exploded, likely the result of sewer gas in the cistern. The roof blew into the air. Everything burst into flames, the fiery glow visible in Anderson nine miles away. Taylor and four other men were killed and a dozen injured, many seriously.
In addition to human loss and serious injury, Pendleton lost both of its fire trucks, which were housed in the building. One fell into the basement. Fire equipment had to be called from Anderson. The interurban train, blocked by fire hoses stretched across the street, provided light for rescue workers. Citizens rushed from all over town to help pull victims from the flames and rubble. Said the Pendleton Times: "January 9 is the darkest day in the history of Pendleton; may there never be another to approach it. While we lament the loss of life, and the far lesser loss of property, we shall remember
with pride and gratitude how promptly and well our townsmen and neighboring towns responded and gave every help possible."