Aspen, CO Aspen Mining and Smelting Co Fire, Apr 1890

The Veteran Fire.

Sunday evening the assaying office of the Aspen Mining and Smelting company caught fire, and despite all efforts to put out the flames, the building burned to the ground.

This is the second time this company has had its assay office burned out, the first fire occurring in 1887 at the same place.

Though the loss to the company by the present fire is a severe one, by the delay it will cause and destruction of property yet the conflagration made a beautiful display to the citizens of Aspen who beheld it. The whole side of Aspen mountain was for a time was brilliantly illuminated by the great bonfire. Hundreds of people were out on the street watching the progress of the fire and the men battling the flames. It seemed at one time the whole of the veteran tunnel buildings with their valuable machinery would be consumed.

The assay office is located about 200 feet to the west of the main building but is closely connected by the covered tramway to the tunnel. When the fire was discovered the men were called out of the mine and set to work. Snow was shoveled from the mountain side onto the building and water was carried in buckets from the flume coming from the tunnel. The men succeeded in containing the fire to the assay office.

The fire is supposed to have originated from a coal stove in the office part. There had been no other fire about the place that day.

The fire started at 7:30 o’clock. The mine employs a watchman who is supposed to go on shift at 7 o’clock. He was late Sunday and did not show up until after the fire started, thus working himself out of a job. The fire was kept up for the watchman to sit by in the night. Thus the very means for preventing accident proved to be a source of danger.

The loss is about $1,500. There was $750 of insurance in the Manchester company of England. There was about $500 worth of chemicals stored in the building. The company will at once rebuild. The fire will not retard the output of the mine as the tramway was not damaged.

Aspen Weekly Times, Aspen, CO 12 Apr 1890