1908 - TAMPA FLAME SWEPT; LOSS $600,000. MILLIONS OF CIGARS MAKE AROMATIC BLAZE.
Blaze Fanned by Strong Wind Wipes Out Many Buildings; Cuban Woman Drops Dead From Excitement
[By Morning Journal Special Leased Wire.]
Tampa, Fla., March 1.—The entire extreme northeastern section of this city was destroyed by fire which broke out in a boarding house early today and raged uninterruptedly for four hours. The area burned covered fifty-five acres or eighteen and one-half city blocks and three hundred and eight buildings were destroyed with a total loss estimated a $600,000 and one woman is dead from excitement.
The burned section includes four large and one smaller cigar factory and numerous restaurants, saloons, boarding houses, and over 200 residents occupied the cigarmakers. The factories burned were:
M. Stacheberg & Co., loss $100,000; M. Perez & Co., loss $50,000; Gonzales Fisher & Co., loss $40,000; Esberg Gunst & Co., branch of Stachelgerg, loss $40,000; and Ferdinez & Co. loss $20,000.
All factories carried large stocks of tobacco and cigars. The area swept by fire embraced all that portion of the city between Twelfth and Michigan avenues, and Sixteenth and Twentieth streets. It originated in the boarding house of Antonio Diaz, No. 1714 Twelfth avenue and fanned by a strong wind, spread fan-shaped defying the efforts of the fire department, which was crippled by a very weak water pressure. Occupants of over 200 dwelling houses, thrown into a panic, rushed out, attempting to save but little of their belongings. A Cuban woman dropped dead from the shock.
Fire Chief Savage was overcome by heat and smoke early in this fire but recovered later. Citizens volunteered assistance to the hard working firemen, but the spread of the flames was so rapid that little effectual work could be done. Among buildings other than factories destroyed were the hotels and cafes of Perez and Castro and Maximo Caras, six saloons, twelve restaurants and ten boarding houses. The car barns of the Tampa Electric company containing twenty cars was endangered and owing to the destruction of the trolley wires, the cars could not be removed. The fire finally burned itself out at the extreme northeastern section of the city. Fully half of he people rendered homeless were out of work and their shelter became an immediate problem. St. Joseph convent was opened to them by order of the Jesuit Fathers and many found lodging there while others were accommodated in homes throughout the city. Besides these, thousands of men will be out of work on account of the burning of the factories.
The insurance is estimated at not more than half of the loss. The state militia was placed on guard tonight in the burned district to prevent depredation.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
March 2, 1908
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