Aspen, CO Fire, Apr 1890

A Disastrous Fire.

About 10 minutes after 3 o'clock a.m. yesterday a dense volume of smoke was seen pouring out from the read of S. W. Fleming's stationary store on Cooper avenue, two doors east of Mill street. An alarm of the fire was immediately sounded, but before the firemen could respond the flames burst through the roof that covers McRobbie's notion store and James Woodworth's Nugget saloon. A line of hose was quickly brought up the alley and was soon playing in the rear, while other lines were laid on Cooper avenue and Mill street; but the fire had gained such headway that it soon enveloped the entire corner and ate its way into the two-story block at 310-12 Mill street.

The corner occupied by J. J. McRobbie and the Nugget saloon adjoining was entirely gutter. E. W. Fleming's stationary store next door east was partial-burned and the stock was ruined by water. At 312 Mill street, immediately back of McRobbies, Lind & Meyers' tailor store was ruined and Killam & Dixons real estate office adjoining at 310, was soaked with water. The upper part of this building was gutted by the flames.

The fire was gotten under control after half an hour of hard work by the department, although it was very stubborn in the two-story block of the alley, it being hard to reach in the building. Mr. Emmet had $1,000 worth of furniture stored in the upper story of this building.

Jack Bransford, the insurance man answered this query with the statement that it started with a match. But when pressed for an explanation Jack's reply was not indefinite. It is now pretty definitely settled that the fire started in the rear of the Nugget saloon, which was used as a kitchen. The saloon has no rear entrance and the building joins against the two story block fronting Mill.

The origin of the fire will probably remain a mystery. There is no plausible ground for its being incendiary. There was no insurance on the stock of liquors and only five hundred dollars on the building. The fire must have started by accident. There had been no fire in the kitchen stove since 6 o'clock in the evening. The saloon had been closed about 1 o'clock when the night bartender went home. The electric lights were still left burning.

Another man's idea of the origin of the conflagration was that it was caused by spontaneous compustion [sic] and that the spontaneous combustion was caused by a rat chewing the head off of a match and that rat only had two legs.

Those who first discovered the fire reported smoke issuing from the rear of Fleming's store. However, his room is so little burned and the other building is so completely gutted as to leave no doubt about where the fire started.

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