The call came in to the fire department just after the noon hour and within minutes smoke could be seen all over the valley. 50 percent of the Idora Park amusement park was in flames. Work crews had been busy putting the last of the rides together for opening day. Its been speculated that welding where the Lost River ride and famous Wildcat come together sparked the blaze.
Idora Park owner Patrick Duffy had this to say: “I don’t know how it started. It was lunchtime. We had about 50 men working on it out here and it just went that quick. It started somewhere in the lost river ride, and I went in to answer a phone call and saw a little smoke and I called the fire department and its gone. There was a lot of smoke in the Lost River. In the back there’s a steel trough and occasionally you would get a leak and we would patch it, but I can’t say if that’s where it started because work was all in that area. I really don’t know. It’s my first fire. We’ve got a half a park left but we lost the Wildcat the Lost River, concession stands both sides of the midway, the office and our records. I don’t know.”
To top things off there was a serious water problem. Every Youngstown fire fighting unit was on the scene but all the trucks were pulling from one eight-inch main. There was enough pressure but not enough water to go around. Because of the intense pressure there was hose breakage. Firefighters had to lay the hose from all the way across Idora’s parking lot. The main was on Parkview just off Glenwood Ave. Because of the intense heat and smoke several firefighters had to be treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. No one was hospitalized. Patrick Duffy said the losses will be covered, the park was insured by Firemans Fund Insurance. There’s no dollar amount set yet, it’s to early to take inventory but it looks like 50-60 percent of the facility may be gone. Millions of dollars alone were tied up in the Wildcat, one of the few solid wooden coasters left in the entire country.