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Aspen, CO Fire, Jul 1884

ASPEN’S FIRST FIRE.

A Baby Conflagration Costing About $2,500.

At about three o’clock yesterday afternoon fire was discovered in the carpenter shop of Kester, Murdock & Brown, on Durant st., east of the Times office. The alarm was given, and within a few minutes over a thousand people responded. The heat was so intense that nothing could be saved from the shop, but willing hands were ready to do what they could. Within three minutes the building was enveloped in flames, and communicated with the building on the west, owned and occupied by Jas. McDonnell and family, consisting of himself and wife, two children and two brothers. The men were away working in the mines. Most of the furniture was saved.

Mrs. Maggie Webber’s two story ten room house, east of the shop, occupied by Thos. Combs, melted like wax, making it impossible to save only a portion of the furniture on the ground floor.

The next building east, owned by Mayor Hooper, was licked up in a jiffy, but most of the furniture of J. M. Lockerby, who occupied the building, was saved.

The next was Dick Taggart’s cabin, occupied by Mr. Martell. This structure was torn down; which saved Fisher and Pearson’s house, and arrested the progress of the flames.

Four buildings were burned, and one torn down. The wind was blowing a gale from the northwest, which fact saved the entire business portion of the town. McKinney’s new saloon building, just across Galena street from the Times building, was saved only by the greatest efforts of men with buckets and wet blankets, it having caught fire several times.

There was no insurance on any of these properties. The approximate losses are as follows: McDonnell, house, $400; furniture, $100; Kester, Murdock & Brown, shop and tools, $400; Taggart, $100; Hooper, $150; Lockerby, $50; Combs, furniture, clothing and jewelry, from $200 to $300; Mrs. Webber, house, $1,000. There were numerous offers of the hospitality of their homes made by citizens to the three homeless families. Mr. McDonnall is quartered in the Times building; Mr. Comb’s people found a refuge at Capt. Noble’s; and Mr. Lockerby and family are at Mr. Fink’s.

After the fire was under control, the firemen brought out the fire engine, which to the surprise of all, did effective work in extinguishing the embers, which, had the wind changed, would have soon spread over the town. This is a fortunate fire for Aspen, although severe upon a few. It is a reminder to the council to have the city bonds negotiated, even at 25 per cent discount, if they can’t do any better, and provide further fire preventives.

There should constantly be a trained team at the engine house; and we understand that Foreman Williamson, who did effective work yesterday by his presence of mind and rapid execution, offers to furnish his own fine team and train them for the work, provided the city will build him a stable at the engine house, which generous proposition should be immediately, forth-with and at once accepted.

The dying embers were still hot and smoking, when a paper was started for the benefit of the fire sufferers, which was generously responded to on all sides.

Aspen Weekly Times, Aspen Co 19 Jul 1884



article | by Dr. Radut