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Harrisburg, Penn., Feb. 1. - Ten buildings in the centre of the business district of this city were either destroyed or badly damaged by fire early this morning. The loss is estimated at $1,000,000. The Grand Opera House block and the Duncan building were destroyed. The buildings damaged are the Park Hotel, Columbus Hotel, the United Telephone Company building, the Security Trust building, the Bijou Theatre, ROSHON'S photograph studio, the College block, the Harrisburg Gas Company building. Several other buildings were more or less damaged.

The fire started from an explosion in PYNE'S hat store in the Opera House block at 2 o'clock, and within an hour had destroyed the playhouse and stores in the building, and had leaped across to the west side of Third Street to the Columbus Hotel and College block. While thick clouds of smoke were coming out of the windows of the Opera House the firemen saw a figure at one of the big windows high up in the building. He was rescued with difficulty. He fainted and was hurried to the Harrisburg Hospital, where it was found he was not badly hurt. He proved to be JOHN SMITH of New York, a member of a stock company.

An hour after the fire started business at the Post Office had to be suspended. At 3:30 o'clock Mayor GROSS telephoned to Lancaster, Carlisle, and Mechanicsburg, explaining the situation and asking them to prepare to send aid. The response was prompt, but the preffered assistance was not required, the fire being under control at 4:30 o'clock.

The Grand Opera House was one of the foremost playhouses of Pennsylvania, not so much from a theatrical standpoint as from the part it played in the State's political history. It was built as a Masonic Temple, the cornerstone having been laid in 1872, and was opened by LAWRENCE BARRETT and EDWIN BOOTH.

The New York Times
New York, New York
February 2, 1907

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