Aspen, CO LaFave Block Fire, Feb 1893

LaFave Block Burned.

The fire which broke out about 12 o’clock Wednesday night in the building at the corner of Mill and Main streets, opposite the Jerome hotel, caused the loss of a large amount of property, which was quite well covered by insurance.

The building, which is an old two-story frame, is known as the old LaFave block, and was built in 1885, since which time it has been owned by various parties and is now the property of William Ferris, of Colorado Springs. The upper floor was occupied by Mrs. M. Whitmore, as furnished rooms, and the entire contents were destroyed, as well as the personal property of the roomers. The fire spread so rapidly there was no time to save anything, the roomers escaping in their night clothes.

B. F. Locke, a stonecutter, came near losing his life. When he awoke his room was a mass of fire, and it was with great difficulty that he found his way into the hall and reached the head of the stairway, when he was suficated [sic] and fell to the floor, and fortunately rolled down the stairs. He was picked up insensible and carried to the Jerome, where he was found to be badly burned about the face, hands and feet, but not considered dangerously. Mr. Locke loses all his personal property and some valuable papers.

S. P. Christensen occupied a room fronting on Main street at the head of the stairway, and had a very narrow escape from death.

Mrs. Sarah Anthony, a colored woman, jumped from a window in the second story, and is badly bruised.

The lower floor was occupied by the following parties: A. Pohl, tobaccos, cigars and confectionary; the stock is badly damaged by water and fire and is partly covered by insurance. C. W. Fisbel, hardware; the damage is slight, and the insurance will cover all loss. A. Frankel, tailor; loss about $100; no insurance. The loss by the fire was slight, the goods having been stolen during the fire. Mr. Frankel, stating that out of a stock of thirty-eight overcoats he has only seventeen left Louis Brien, shoemaker, loss slight with no insurance. The Singer Sewing Machine company’s stock was slightly damaged by the fire.

The following amounts of insurance are carried by the Brown & Bransford company, of Aspen:

W. Ferris, on building, London and Lancashire, $800; Springfield, $800; New Hampshire, $700; German, $100.
A. Pohl, cigars, etc., Liverpool, London and Globe, $800; German, $550.
C. W. Fishel, house furnishings, etc., Queene, $700; Manchester, $800.
Mrs. M. Whitmore, household furniture, Conneticut [sic] $500; Royal, $500.

The building has always been considered a fire trap but owing to the locality has usually been occupied by good tenants. Whether it will be repaired or a new building put up in its place could not be learned.

The fire department are entitled to great credit for their prompt and efficient work at the fire.

An amusing story in connection with the fire is related by Dr. Ramsey. The good and truthful doctor says that he and Dr. Downs were among the first at the fire, having been out to see some patients, and they found the colored woman above mentioned leaning out an upstairs window screaming at the top of her voice for some brave man to save her. Dr. Ramsey says he knew the risk was great, as the proportion of the woman outlined by the starlight showed that she weighed something less than a tone, but the emergency was great also and he cried, “Jump into my arms, I’ll save you.” The woman leaped straight at him, he threw out his arms to catch her, but, alas, his feet slipped from under him, and the colored lady landed squarely on Dr. Downs’ neck, sending him to the grass with a dull, sickening thud.

Aspen Weekly Times, Aspen, CO 25 Feb 1893