1894 - FLAMES FANNED BY THE WIND. Firemen of Ipswich, Mass., Struggle to Save Their Town.
Three Blocks Totally Destroyed and Several Dwellings Burned.
Fire Fighters Suffered From the Bitter Cold - Sparks Carried a Half Mile.
IPSWICH, Mass., Jan. 14. - This town was visited Saturday morning by one of the worst fires in its history. Three business blocks are in ruins and three dwellings are destroyed, beside other buildings. The total loss will foot up $50,000. The firemen suffered great misery in coping with the flames, the wind blowing furiously and the thermometer being nearly down to zero.
It was about 1:30 when the fire was discovered by Arthur Howard, who look out the window of the Boston and Maine station, and saw the light of the fire in the Jewett block. He gave the alarm as soon as possible, but before the firemen could be awakened and get to the fire it was nearly 2 o;clock.
Then the chief engineer saw that he had more of a fire than he could fight successfully with his department, and he sent to the neighboring towns for help. The news arrived in Salem between 1 and 2 o'clock, and soon after 2 a steamer, with firemen, was on its way to Ipswich, where it arrived in time to assist with the work.
It is supposed that the fire caught from an overheated stove in the rooms of the Red Men or in the photographic rooms of George Dexter, in the upper part of the Jewett block. It obtained so much headway before the firemen got there that it was impossible to tell how it really did start.
The Flames Very Quickly Leaped
from the Jewett block to the Wildes' block, and soon that was wrapped in their embrace. From there they went to the Central block, and thence to the neighboring buildings.
The Jewett block was a three-story wooden structure, and was occupied by John Goodhue's hardware store on the first floor, the Red Men's club in the second story and the photographic rooms of George Dexter in the upper part. It was owned by Isaac Jewett.
The Wildes block was owned by George Wildes, and was two stories high and of wood. George Haskell, grocer, occupied the lower story. Everett L. Irving, in the second story, had his harness shop and dwelling. Frank Keyes, dentist, also had rooms on the same floor.
The Central block was a 3-story building, also owned by Mr. Wildes. The occupants were John Amazeen, billiards and confectionery, in the lower part, J. B. Melanfort, barber, on the same floor, and the Ipswich Independent on the second floor. The Independent is owned by Hull & Hawyood. The Ipswich Bicycle club had rooms on the same floor, and on the third floor the occupants were John T. Heard lodge of Masons. These three blocks are a total loss, and substantially all their contents.
The house of Isaac Jewett, next the Jewett block on the other side, was totally destroyed, together with all the furniture. Mrs. Jewett, who is 70 years of age, was suffering from pneumonia at the time and was taken
In the Arms of a Neighbor
and carried to the house of Mrs. John Hayes. The store of Fred Byron was also among those totally destroyed. It stood next to the Central block. The only thing saved from it was a bundle of books.
The building on the Hurd estate was destroyed. This estate belongs to the trustees of the Manning high school, and is on the corner of Central and High streets. Mrs. Cw. W. Brown, milliner, occupied the lower floor, and a dwelling on another part of the estate was occupied by Dr. McCarthy and Frank Peavey. The dwelling of Carleton Copp on the opposite side of the street was afire several times, but was saved by putting wet canvass over it.
Another block owned by George Wildes also caught fire several times, but was kept from burning by the active exertions of the people.
Several sheds and barns in the rear of the line of burned dwellings mentioned were destroyed. These were not of great value.
The value of the individual building burned cannot yet be stated, but the total loss will not be far from $50,000, perhaps rather more than less. Most of the owners have fair insurance, but the amounts and companies are not yet known.
The flames burned very fiercely for three hours and could be seen for miles around. It was thought at one time that the entire
Town Would Go Up in Smoke,
and considering that the department was delayed, that the weather was very cold, and that the water supply was inadequate, it is a wonder that the destruction was not much greater.
The streets in the neighborhood were filled with furniture as many families moved out, expecting that their homes would go. Much of this furniture was damaged by water, and some of it looked as it if it had come from the arctic regions. The fire was under control before 5 o'clock, and the firemen have been deservedly praised on every hand for the fight they made. They had everything to contend against, and yet kept the flames from spreading to building that everyone thought were doomed.
At times during the fire the wind blew a perfect gale, and swept the flames and smoke and sparks for a half mile over the town. Fortunately the breeze was so strong as to blow the fire out of the sparks before they alighted, otherwise greater damage would have ensued. The town of Ipswich has no water supply. The only water available for fire purposes is that in the reservoirs and wells and what may be sometimes drawn from the river.
The Lewiston Daily Sun
January 15, 1894
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